Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Who Owns Scotland?

Although all of the above could apply to some landowners, there is one thing wrong and two things missing from the list.

Wrong is the English Aristocrat. While the aristocracy dominates land ownership, it is also internationally fashionable to own a large estate in Scotland. Because, almost uniquely, of the lack of land ownership legislation, Belgians, Swedes, Arabs, Swiss and a myriad of other nationalities own swathes of our country.

Scottish large estate ownership is not acceptable because of the negative contribution to the environmental and economic well being of Scotland. Which brings FirstFoot on to the first of the two missing elements of the list …Neglect.

Despite owning landmasses which would comfortably accommodate several major cities, the typical estate owner employs few people, contributes next to bugger all to the economic and social good and depletes the resource of the estate.

While many will point to the forests that they plant, few will acknowledge either the tax concessions which accrue, or the enormous environmental damage concomitant with such planting. Scotland's native wildlife is being depleted with both fauna and animal species under threat or extinct due to loss of natural habitat. Soil erosion is rife, caused by ploughing of hills for tree planting. The soil that runs off hills silts up streams and rivers and causes further damage to that micro-environment.

They take a lot out and put very little back.
Who Owns Scotland