Calum Innes, partner, at CKD Galbraith, who has succeeded with key sporting rating cases before both the Lands Tribunal for Scotland and the Lands Valuation Appeal Court, said:
"The Bill proposes an end to the exemption on rates for sporting land and deer forests, which will lead to an unwelcome burden for many estate operations. Business rates have not been applied to sporting estates for 20 years and as the Land Reform Bill passes through the Scottish Parliament it will be important to track whether any exemptions to this new measure will be permitted."
CKD Galbraith is more heavily involved in land management and consultancy in Scotland than any other property firm and is the only firm with a dedicated sporting department.
There are also a number of controversial measures in the Bill, including giving a right to government ministers to intervene and sell property should a landowner be deemed to be a barrier to sustainable economic development. How that will be defined in practice is yet to be made clear.
As far as tenant farming is concerned there are provisions in the Bill to widen the succession rights for 1991 Act agricultural tenants as well as giving them the right to assign their tenancies to a limited duration tenancy of an, as yet, unspecified, period. Measures contained in this Bill amount to the biggest changes to landownership and land management in Scotland since the passage of the previous Land Reform (Scotland) and the Agricultural Holding (Scotland) Acts of 2003.
To access the Land Reform Bill click here.