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Common Land to be reviewed

Published: 27 Jan 2016 00:01

Minister refers 1695 Commonties Act to Law Commission to consider repeal.

Land Reform Minister Aileen McLeod will inform the Scottish Parliament's Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee today (Wednesday) that she intends to refer the issue of Common Land to the new Scottish Land Commission, when established, and invite them to conduct a review as part of their programme of work. This work reflects concern, shared by the Scottish Government, that there may be insufficient protection for common land in Scotland and that individuals could use existing legislation and procedures to claim common land against the wider interest.

The Scottish Government intends that the review by the Scottish Land Commission will also cover common good land.

Dr McLeod is also today writing to the Scottish Law Commission to ask that they review the Division of Commonties Act 1695 with a view to its repeal.

The Scottish Law Commission has ongoing work relating to the repeal of obsolete legislation and the Government is asking the Scottish Law Commission to review the Commonties Act to ensure that there would be no unexpected consequences from its repeal.

Dr McLeod said:

"There is widespread interest in Common Land the length and breadth of Scotland. The Scottish Government is very keen that Common Land is protected and I will be informing Parliament today that once the new Scottish Land Commission is up and running the Government will refer the issue of Common Land to them to review.

"It is a sign of the need for our current Land Reform work that genuine concerns are raised about the need to protect common land. The Scottish Government shares these concerns, which is why we see this as a priority for the new Commission.

"This review would also cover Common Good land, held by local authorities."

Speaking on the Division of Commonties Act 1695, the Minister added:

"Today I am writing to the Scottish Law Commission to ask that they review the 1695 Commonties Act with a view to its repeal. The Commission can consider this as part of their work on Statute Law Repeals.

"I look forward to seeing the recommendations from the Scottish Law Commission following consultation with relevant stakeholders."

Notes to editors

A commonty is an old form of land tenure where the rights of property or use are shared by two or more neighbouring landowners.

The Scottish Law Commission is a statutory body which recommends reforms to improve, simplify and update the law of Scotland. Part of this work is about the repeal of obsolete legislation. More information on this work is at

Common good property is property owned by local authorities for the common good of the inhabitants in their areas which has been passed down, through local government reorganisation, from the former burghs.