Scottish legislation that came into effect in 2016 is now starting to become a reality for many landowners. The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 re-instated sporting rates that had previously been removed in 1995. Sporting rates are based upon Victorian legislation and effectively place a tax on all land that has sporting shooting and/or deer stalking potential, whether or not the land is actually shot over.

The Scottish Assessors Association has now published its practice note on this revaluation exercise. It has also published an FAQ section relating to the re-entry of shooting rights to the valuation role. 

Letters outlining liability will soon be sent to nearly all landowners, including farmers, and occupiers of sporting rights. A large number of the smaller landholdings will benefit from the Small Business Bonus Scheme that offers relief to properties with a rateable value of less than £15,000.

When the legislation was passed, Scotland’s First Minister indicated that this could raise £4 million per annum and that she said she wanted this to be used to assist with community land purchases.

BASC was opposed to the reintroduction of sporting rates, recognising that this places sporting shooting and deer stalking in Scotland at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the UK.  This will not only affect those who live and shoot in Scotland but will have knock-on effects for the many thousands of visitors who come to Scotland to enjoy its world-class shooting and stalking.

It is anticipated that many landowners will elect to appeal against their valuation and BASC Scotland will be pleased to advise members (TEL: 01350 723226).

The rates (per hectare of land) vary from £2 for deer forest/hill/moor to £5 for woodland/forestry.

Garry Doolan

Garry Doolan is BASC’s deputy director of communications and public affairs. He has more than 20 years experience of journalism and the media. He joined the organisation in 2016 and is a keen shooter and beater, with his springer spaniel Quincy.

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