SLE welcome improved ratings system for sporting rights and deer forests

SLE welcome improved ratings system for sporting rights and deer forests

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Press Release

Important technical changes to the calculation of non-domestic rates on shooting rights and deer forests have been welcomed by Scottish Land & Estates.

The rates, reintroduced as part of the Land Reform Act 2016, saw valuation notices issued to proprietors which was followed by a substantial number of appeals entered to the Scottish Assessors Association (‘the assessor’).

Following extensive discussions with Scottish Land & Estates’ working group – which includes a number of industry experts – SAA has agreed to make adjustments to ratings which will hopefully resolve outstanding appeals and streamline the next revaluation of entries in 2022.

Marcelina Hamilton, Policy Adviser (Rural Business & Property) at Scottish Land & Estates, said:

“The reintroduction of rates on shooting rights and deer forests was a huge undertaking for the assessor in 2017. Rates on shooting rights and deer forests are applied whether the rights are used and anyone, regardless of the holding size or management objectives, who occupies sporting rights are subject to being rated - Scottish Government, farmers, forestry enterprises, tenants, and crofters are a few examples.

“Much of the valuation process was a desktop exercise which led to the reality and detail of what was occurring on the ground being lost – leading to a substantial number of appeals being entered by ratepayers.

“We have worked with the Scottish Assessors Association throughout this period and we are pleased with the changes now being implemented which we believe will reduce the level of appeals and streamline the ratings process looking ahead to revaluation in 2022.

“Both the assessor and our working group deserve significant credit for working through these issues and then delivering equitable and pragmatic solutions. This was one of the headline measures in the recent Land Reform Act and it is pleasing that a fair and workable system has been achieved for all parties given the huge impact that rates have on impact on the viability and sustainability of businesses that contribute to local economies.”

The changes introduced include:

  • Area exclusions
  • Quantum threshold reductions
  • Location adjustments and end allowances.
  • Ability to make adjustments for commercial forestry entries where crop damage of 10% or more can be demonstrated
  • Ability to make adjustments for forests which have been predominantly felled or re-planted within five years.