McAlpine raises questions over Buccleuch Estates restructuring

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MSP Joan McAlpine has raised questions over Buccleuch Estates ending tenancies on their land in Eskdale with the intention to plant trees instead.


Ms McAlpine wrote to ministers after she was approached by tenants facing eviction at the hands of Scotland’s biggest private landowner.


The SNP MSP has asked Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing what can be done to ensure that landowners like Buccleuch are not incentivised to plant forestry at the expense of tenant farmers.


She has also questioned whether Buccleuch’s actions go against the spirit of the Land Reform Act – and has written to Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham for advice.


Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:


“I understand the importance of forestry and timber production.  The aim of planting more trees is commendable.


“However, this should absolutely not be at the expense of tenant farmers – we need to ensure that landowners like Buccleuch are not exploiting their tenants to line their own pockets.”


Constituents also informed Ms McAlpine that Buccleuch Estates had promised a community meeting on the issue – where locals could air their grievances and ask questions in a public forum.


However, the meeting  – scheduled for the 27th of February – is being run as a drop in, and locals are disappointed this is not what was promised.


Ms McAlpine has approached Buccleuch to ask them to reconsider the format of the meeting.


She said:


“Buccleuch Estates promised a community meeting and this is what the community are expecting – I have written to them and hope that they will deliver on this.”