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Who Owns Scotland - Debate At Scottish Parliament

13th March 2019

Photograph of Who Owns Scotland - Debate At Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament debated issues surrounding land ownership, creating a register and the difficulties of obtaining information.

The motion was brought forward by Andy Wightman MSP who has had long interest and published papers and books on the topic.

Motion debated -

That the Parliament believes that a modern, democratic society requires open and transparent information on the ownership, use and value of land; commends the report published by Community Land Scotland (Towards Land Ownership Transparency); notes the ambition to create a Scottish Land Information System (SCOTLIS) to provide comprehensive information about land and property; understands that the target to register all land owned by Scotland's public bodies by 2019 is unlikely to be achieved; regrets that it remains difficult, time-consuming and expensive for citizens in Lothian and across Scotland to obtain land information, and notes the view that information about the ownership, use and value of land should be made freely available to the people of Scotland.

Watch the debate at

A full transcript can be seen at

Andy Wightman runs a web site called Who Owns Scotland but it has not been updated since 2015. It was and is mammoth task.

He was inspired by a man, John McEwan who wrote a book called Who Owns Scotland - A Study in Land Ownership many years before and his own book was an updated with much more information of that original work. Note the reference in the transcript links to John McEwan but it is the wrong person as the link goes to John McEwan a former prime minister of Australia - an entirely different person.

Andy Wightman writes about land on his blog at

Obituary of John McEwan appeared in the Independent 26 September 1992

Books by Andy Wightman

The Poor Had No Lawyers

Who Owns Scotland

An article in give very good overview of what was said - See it at

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