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RIGHTS TO BUY REFORM PROGRESS

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Rural and crofting communities could soon be free to purchase land following the presentation of Regulations for th...
Rural and crofting communities could soon be free to purchase land following the presentation of Regulations for the Community and Crofting Community Rights to Buy.

Deputy environment minister Allan Wilson today laid a series of Regulations in the Scottish Parliament for the two Rights to Buy in Parts Two and Three of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

Changes to the draft regulations follow widespread consultation and detailed consideration of all comments received.

Alterations include extensions to the time limits for claiming compensation from 28 to 90 days; descriptions of eligible land, salmon fishing and mineral rights to be included in ballot information and increasing the notification of a ballot from seven to 10 days.

Allan Wilson said: 'The Rights to Buy will be a historic step forward. A number of regulations are required to make them happen. Last month, Parliament approved the Community Right to Buy (Definition of Excluded Land) Order, to ensure that 441 of the total 494 Scottish settlements, containing over 1.5 million people and covering 98.6 per cent and nearly 8 million hectares of land in Scotland, will benefit from the Community Right to Buy - many more people than originally envisaged.

'Today we are laying the remaining regulations which mark yet another essential step in the executive's commitment to bringing forward radical Land Reform measures to encourage communities throughout rural Scotland to determine their own future.

'Parliament has already accepted the ethos of the Rights to Buy in passing the Land Reform Act. The executive has delivered. It is now for Parliament to make these rights available to the people of Scotland.

'The Rights to Buy should empower rural communities to take responsibility for their long term sustainable development.

'The Scottish Executive is committed to improving the prosperity and quality of life in rural Scotland. The Rights to Buy are integral to the Land Reform Act and an importa nt strand in the wider land reform agenda and in delivering our commitment to rural Scotland.'

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament on January 23 and received Royal Assent on February 23 last year.

The Community Right to Buy in Part Two of the Act provides an opportunity for community bodies representing rural areas to register an interest in and buy land when it comes to be sold.

The Crofting Community Right to Buy in Part Three allows crofting communities to buy croft land at any time.

The Community Right to Buy (Definition of Excluded Land) Order defines land which is excluded from the Right to Buy, thereby defining rural land for the purposes of the Community Right to Buy.

The draft regulations covering Part Two were subject to consultation from August 19 to 14 November 2003, and consultation on the Part Three regulations ran from 16 December 2003, to 9 March 2004.

The regulations laid today, all of which are subject to negative resolution, are:-

The Community Right to Buy (Ballot) (Scotland) Regulations

The Community Right to Buy (Compensation) (Scotland) Regulations

The Community Right to Buy (Forms) (Scotland) Regulations

The Community Right to Buy (Specification of Plans) (Scotland) Regulations

The Community Right to Buy (Register of Community Interests in Land Charges) (Scotland) Regulations

The Crofting Community Right to Buy (Grants Towards Compensation Liability) (Scotland) Regulations

The Crofting Community Right to Buy (Compensation) (Scotland) Order

The Crofting Community Right to Buy (Ballot) (Scotland) Regulations

The Crofting Community Body Form of Application to Buy Croft Land etc. and Notice of Minister's Decision (Scotland) Regulations

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