Residential property
03 Sep 2018 News

Summary of key legislative changes

Compulsory Sales Order

The Scottish Land Commission has proposed new powers allowing planning authorities to bring properties and sites which have been left derelict for a lengthy period of time back into a useful condition. The driver for the new power appears to be to eradicate towns and communities from unsightly disused buildings which can hamper the standard of living, dissuade potential investors to an area and attract crime, but without the party wishing to exercise the power having to have a clear vision of use for the property/site. This will differ from existing compulsory purchase orders available to communities and local authorities at present which often require a clear plan of how the property or building will be used. It is anticipated this new order being used as a power of last resort, with the emphasis still to be on collaboration between local authorities and owners.

Improvements Amnesty

The Improvements Amnesty introduced by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 is into its second year and the Scottish Land Commission has renewed its plea to tenant farmers to take up the amnesty before its expiry in June 2020. The amnesty allows tenants to rectify any procedural issues with historic improvements to their holding to ensure that their full value is realised at waygo and/or during the rent review process. A Code of Practice prepared by the Tenant Farming Commissioner together with input from industry bodies from both landlords and tenants sets out in detail how both parties can work together to utilise the amnesty in a fair and transparent way. The message is clear: it can take time to pull the necessary information together so do not leave it until the last minute.

DEFRA Reducing Ammonia Emissions

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in England and Wales has recently produced a voluntary Code of Good Agricultural Practice setting out the practical steps farmers and land managers should adhere to in order to minimise ammonia emissions from the storage and application of organic manure, fertiliser and livestock diet/housing. This Code affects farmers south of the border only but it is perhaps only a matter of time until a similar protocol is introduced in Scotland. DEFRA has also announced that it is providing financial and technical advice to help farmers reduce their emissions with an investment of £3million over the next three years.

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