Wednesday, May 09, 2012


Ownership of land by overseas interests remains controversial and poses challenges to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Around 80 estates covering around 905,000 acres are held by overseas individuals and offshore trusts. Periodic calls for tighter regulation or abolition of overseas ownership (particularly land owned in offshore tax havens) have failed to lead to reform. Many of the institutional owners, such as Eagle Star and Prudential, have sold their land in Scotland and the extent of such ownership is much reduced from what it was in the 1970s. Pension funds still include land as part of their investment portfolio but now seem to prefer urban to rural. Forestry investment by pension funds is still prevalent and institutional or industrial ownership of forests by the timber industry has been growing steadily.

Scottish Ministers, the legal name for the Scottish Government, is the largest landowner in Scotland, owning 1,901,607 acres of land (9.8%) of Scotland’s land area. Land held by Scottish Ministers consists of two main holdings – the national forest estate managed by the Forestry Commission and the agricultural estates managed by the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate.

According to Auslan Cramb Who Owns Scotland?, the top twenty landowners of Scottish lands in 1996 are:


The Forestry Commission = 1,600,000 acres
Duke of Buccleuch/Lord Dalkeith: 4 estates in the Borders = 270,000 acres
Scottish Office Agriculture Dept: 90% crofting land = 260,000 acres
National Trust for Scotland: (including the 75,000-acre Mar Lodge) = 190,000 acres
Alcan Highland Estates: land used for electricity generation = 135,000 acres
Duke of Atholl, Sarah Troughton: Estates around Dunkeld/Blair Atholl = 130,000 acres
Capt. Alwyn Farquharson: Invercauld on Deeside & smaller estate, Argyll = 125,000 acres
Duchess of Westminster, Lady Mary Grosvenor: = 120,000 acres
Earl of Seafield: Seafield estates, Speyside = 105,000 acres
Crown Estates Commission: 3 main estates, including Glenlivert = 100,000 acres


Andras Ltd, Malaysia: Glenavon, Cairngorms/Brauen, Inverness = 70,000 acres
Mohammed bin Raschid al Maktoum: = 63,000 acres
Kjeld Kirk-Christiansen, head of Lego, Denmark: Strathconon, Mid Ross = 50,000 acres
Profs Joseph and Lisbet Koerner, Swedish Tetra Pak heiress: Corrour, Caithness = 48,000 acres
Stanton Avery, USA: Dunbeath, Caithness = 30,000 acres
Mohamed Al Fayed: Balnagowan, Ross and Cromarty = 30,000 acres
Urs Schwarzenberg, Switzerland: Ben Alder, Inverness-shire = 26,000 acres
Count Knuth, Denmark: Ben Loyal, Sutherland = 20,000 acres
His Excellency Mahdi Muhammad al-Tajir, UAE: Blackford, Perthshire = 20,000 acres
Prof. Ian Roderick Macneil of Barra, USA: Barra and islands = 17,200 acres


No comments: