SCOTLAND'S landowners this week voiced their concern over the Scottish Government's avowed intention to further reform the country's land law.

While the agricultural industry may feel a little tentative about the ruling SNP's new co-operation agreement with the Scottish Greens, larger scale landowners are downright nervous, given the Greens' longstanding commitment to shaking up, and indeed breaking up, the current pattern of ownership across large tracts of Scotland's land mass.

Commenting on the newly released Programme for Government, Chief Executive of Scottish Land & Estates, Sarah-Jane Laing said: "We continue to view the prospect of disproportionate land reform measures – despite two land reform acts since devolution – as counter to the Scottish Government’s aims on economy, climate and biodiversity. It’s clear that large landowners are playing an integral part in delivering these aims – and further land reform measures will put this at risk."

Read more: SNP sets out land reform package

Ms Laing insisted that Scotland’s existing land-based businesses were already engaged with environmental care, and as such supported the Scottish Government’s focus on tackling the twin emergencies of climate change and biodiversity.

“We have urged the Scottish Government speed up the transition to net zero and hope that the creation of a Green Jobs Fund, Rural Entrepreneur Fund and significant investment in the natural economy will help accelerate this progress while providing essential jobs and support for rural Scotland," she said.

"We welcome much needed increased investment for rural communities and businesses as Scotland recovers from the Covid pandemic, and look forward to working with the Scottish Government to ensure that this translates to jobs, homes and other essential elements of a vibrant rural Scotland."

SLaE also welcomed the development of a 'Remote, Rural & Islands' housing action plan to attract more people to join a rural community as well as the commitment to encourage entrepreneurs to develop their businesses in rural areas.

Read more: Rural land managers are ahead of the game

"We are also pleased to see confirmation of steps forward in agricultural policy, which is badly needed to allow businesses to plan for the future," added Ms Laing. "This alongside clarity of future forestry funding will help to enable an integrated approach to land management and the development of natural capital, which SLE has long been calling for.

“We hope the Scottish Government will take forward its programme with an evidence-based approach and we will work constructively with them on all issues which affect our members and rural Scotland.”