Richard Lochhead MSP

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Richard Lochhead MSP

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  • Member for: Moray
  • Region: Highlands and Islands
  • Party: Scottish National Party

Richard is a member of the following Committees:

Richard is a member of the following Cross-Party Groups:

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Richard Lochhead

Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
Richard Lochhead

I certainly hope so. A central theme of the land reform review group’s report was the need for better information, transparency and accountability for land ownership. The Government has already committed to completing the land register within 10 years, with public sector land being registered within five years. Our consultation asks how we can improve further the information that we hold on land ownership and how to make it more transparent, if possible.

It is fair to say that the action being taken in Europe, combined with the measures that I have just outlined that are being taken here in Scotland to improve the transparency and accountability of land ownership, will shine a light into the darkest recesses of land ownership, which will be great for the future of democratising land and how it is used and managed, and the benefits that it can deliver for Scotland in the future.



Meeting of the Parliament 11 December 2014 : Thursday, December 11, 2014
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment (Richard Lochhead)

The structure, role and remit of the proposed Scottish land commission is currently out for consultation. However, the commission will play a key role in ensuring that our package of proposals achieves our desired outcome of greater diversity of land ownership in Scotland. The set of proposals published last week are far reaching and build on the measures that we have already taken over the past few years, and they have the potential to transform Scotland’s concentrated pattern of land ownership.

Specific measures proposed to encourage greater diversity are: enabling the Scottish ministers to intervene where the scale of land ownership or decisions by landowners are a barrier to local development; improving the existing community right to buy and introducing a new right to buy as part of the current Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill; and extending the Scottish land fund and increasing it to £10 million per year from 2016 to 2020.

Our land must benefit the many, not the few, and our proposals will ensure that it does just that.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Richard Lochhead

Our officials and lawyers are working on drafting amendments. It is probably wise for me to write to the committee on that issue as soon as I can.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Richard Lochhead

In the early days of the bill, the focus was on part 2 of the 2003 act and on the issues that we have discussed during the past hour and a half. During our discussions with stakeholders, it became clear that there was a desire to use the bill as a vehicle to address some of the crofting issues that arise under part 3 of the 2003 act. We listened to stakeholders, which is why we are proposing stage 2 amendments, particularly to try to relieve crofting communities of some of the onerous burdens of mapping for applications to purchase their estates. So far, the feedback from stakeholders has been positive; they support what we are doing. We are encouraged by that, so it remains our intention to lodge the stage 2 amendments.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Richard Lochhead

I will certainly commit to looking at that. There are examples in Scotland of communities owning sporting rights, albeit that your question was also on mineral rights.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Richard Lochhead

That issue is clearly not just for this bill but—as you indicate—for the wider land reform debate. I will reflect on the matter. It has featured in past land reform debates, and I would want to revisit the conclusions that were reached then, especially on mineral rights.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Richard Lochhead

I take your points, and we will reflect on the matter. All that I am saying is that we should at least look at the situation of the neglected or abandoned land. If there are genuine issues, they should be part of the ministers’ decision-making process.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Richard Lochhead

Perhaps there is, but I am making the overall point that we must look at the consequences of ownership continuing under the existing owner rather than having the community take over the land and at what that would mean for sustainable development. I am trying to think of a practical example to illustrate my point. A community applies to purchase neglected or abandoned land and argues that such a purchase is in the interests of sustainable development and the public, which is good. If the existing owner of the land suddenly said, “Actually, last month I hired a company to come and build on the land and reinvigorate it,” that would have to be taken into account.

The Government would of course ask for evidence—the owner would not be able to get out of the community buying the land simply by saying, “I’m going to redevelop the land and do things in the future.” The Government would be strict and say that evidence is needed that that is already happening and that the land is not neglected or abandoned.

I am trying to give some comfort. We are not equipping the existing owner to get out of things easily.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Richard Lochhead

I repeat that I take the committee’s views seriously. Such evidence is the purpose of the stage 1 investigation and evidence taking. If the committee wants to make suggestions to the Government, I will certainly consider them seriously.

On the second part of the test—whether continuing ownership under the current arrangements from the existing owner will further sustainable development—I offer the reassurance that ministers will want evidence and proof from the existing owner. If the community argues that taking over ownership will further sustainable development and seeks to buy land because of neglect or abandonment, but the existing owner argues against that and says, “No, no, I’m furthering sustainable development,” the Government will ask for and demand from the owner who is trying to resist the community having the right to purchase evidence that they are taking steps to promote sustainable development.

Ministers will not just accept a reactionary statement from the existing owner to try to prevent the community from taking over land. They will want evidence that things are happening, investments are being made, a plan is in the pipeline and people have been commissioned to bring the land out of neglect or abandonment. Owners will have to provide evidence.



Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee 10 December 2014 : Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Richard Lochhead

We do not see significant difficulties, which is why we make the proposal in the bill. We expect a community to be able to show why taking ownership will further sustainable development, and that will be a key criterion for ministers when they decide whether to support an application proceeding. Part of the argument is about what is happening with the land or asset and what contribution it is making to sustainable development. I hope that that does not present additional difficulties.

Ministers will have to look at the situation with the asset as well as the proposals from the community, which is a sensible approach. As I said before, if that is seen as an additional obstacle or a hurdle too far, I am keen to hear views on that.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11901.3 Neil Findlay: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11901.1 Mary Scanlon: Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce—As an amendment to motion S4M-11901
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Not VotedDefeated

S4M-11830.2 John Swinney: The Smith Commission—As an amendment to motion S4M-11830 in the name of Ru
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YesCarried

S4M-11830 Ruth Davidson: The Smith Commission—That the Parliament welcomes the publication of the Sm
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YesCarried

Amendment 6 moved by Dr Richard Simpson on motion S4M-11826 Maureen Watt: Food (Scotland) Bill—That
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.3 Claire Baker: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.2 Jamie McGrigor: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825.1 Tavish Scott: End of Year Fish Negotiations—As an amendment to motion S4M-11825 in the n
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NoDefeated

S4M-11825 Richard Lochhead: End of Year Fish Negotiations—That the Parliament welcomes the successfu
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YesCarried

S4M-11763.3 Margaret Burgess: Private Sector Rent Reform—As an amendment to motion S4M-11763 in the
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YesCarried

Search for other Motions lodged by Richard Lochhead
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11825: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/12/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11642: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11598: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/11/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10284: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 10/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10052: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09836: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 28/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09333: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08857: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08540: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-07892: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/10/2013 Show Full Motion >>
This Member currently holds a ministerial post. First Minister and Ministers cannot ask the Government questions which is why no recent questions are displaying here. Please use the full search to find details of previous questions by this Member.
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S2W-32678: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32679: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32685: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32692: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32680: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32683: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32684: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32681: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32682: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>
Question S2W-32693: Richard Lochhead, Moray, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2007 Show Full Question >>

Further information

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