Legislation to increase the transparency of land ownership in Scotland has been passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament.

The 'Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land' regulations pave the way for the creation of a public register that will provide key information about those who have a controlling interest in land – even if they are not registered or recorded as the owner of the land.

Of key importance to Scotland's upland estates and the communities within them, the new legislation will also provide more transparency about land which is controlled by overseas trusts or entities, making it easier for individuals and communities to identify those responsible, and thus engage with those who make decisions about land issues that affect them.

The register, which will be developed and maintained by The Registers of Scotland, will be operational from April 1, 2022 and will be free to access.

Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The passing of these regulations marks a significant milestone towards making land ownership in Scotland more transparent.

“The new register will make Scotland a frontrunner in Europe and deliver greater transparency than any other part of the UK. It enables the public to look behind land ownership and identify those who control decision making.

“Significant consultation and engagement with key stakeholders has taken place over the course of developing these regulations, which fulfil a key component of our landmark Land Reform Act 2016. The register deepens Scotland’s continuing commitment to inclusive and transparent land ownership and reform.”