Absentee owners buying up Scottish estates in secret sales

Primary Author or Creator:
Carroll, Severin
The Guardian
Date Published:
Type of Resource:
Newspaper article/Report
Length (Pages, words, minutes etc...)
Article 8 mind Report 45 mins
Fast Facts

Absentee owners buying Scottish land; nearly half of sales of Highland estates went to absentee owners in 2021, without the land going on the open market. In increasing cases, the sales were for environmental offsetting. Two thirds of sales in 2021 were carried out privately,

A Scottish Land Commission Report warned that these trends are threatening attempts to diversify Land ownership, improve the rural economy, and increase transparency and accountability. 

These trends will make it harder for local communities, Cooperatives, and social enterprises to buy land, hindering rural economic diversity.

More details

The Scottish Land Commission Report: Scale and concentration of Land Ownership - 

is the most substantial investigation conducted into the impacts, with recommendations to the Scottish Government, including the case for new public interest tests on large land sales, limiting the amount of land one individual or entity can own, and for rules to prevent private land sales which exclude local communities from bidding.

Community Land Scotland, which campaigns for land reform, found that many forestry projects are subsidised by Government grants to promote reforestation, whilst allowing the sale of carbon credits based on the CO2 the forests absorb.

Farm prices in Scotland have jumped by 31% in 2021, compared with 6% at UK level.

The SNP and Scottish Ģreens plan to introduce a new land reform Bill in 2023.