Under the Land Reform Act passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2003, communities were given the right to seek to force landowners to sell property, even against their consent. The law is about to be tested in the Western Isles where a community of crofters (and there's another more long-standing idiotic legal scenario in itself!) is going to attempt, through a vehicle called The Galson Estate Trust, to buy some land on the Galson Estate (a 55,000 acre estate owned by the Graham family) with what seems to be the avowed aim of preventing the building of a wind turbine farm, which many of the residents oppose.
I will probably be denounced as a complete Philistine, but we are talking about tracts of moorland with few human inhabitants. Frankly if an enterprising firm wants to build a wind farm, and the [present] legal owners of the land are happy for this to happen, then what is the logical objection? The objection, logical or not, is of course preservation of the natural environment. So what is so special about this environment? Beats me!! A windswept, pretty barren and unproductive landscape - no doubt with great 'grandeur', though - and I just count myself fortunate not to be trapped in such a place. How much is the annual subsidy for transport to and from this place, to allow the residents to continue their seemingly idyllic way of life? I expect this is quite an important factor. And just where will the money come from to fund this forced buy-out? Silly question! Perhaps the local inhabitants should be forced to face the economic realities by cutting off these subsidy junkies from their supply for a while!
Anyway, that's not the main point of my rant - why should an owner be forced to sell property he doesn't want to, under the terms of the crazy Land Reform Act? Our First Minister, Jack McConnell, and Scottish Labour's coalition partners the craven Scottish Liberal Democrats under their leader Jim Wallace, our Deputy First Minister, say they want to encourage inward immigration and investment into Scotland. I respectfully suggest to these fine gentlemen that the legal framework they have put into place with the Land Reform Act is not likely to further these aims.