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Land reform needs more than that. People need permission to build in the highlands, they should set up something similar to the homesteading thing where people buy land they intend to run as a smallholding (5 - 10 acres) then they should be allowed to build a home on that.

I'm sure you can have strong legislative controls on definitions of intent to smallhold and size of house to ensure that it isn't abused but right now the Highlands are pickled in 19th century aspic as a playground for country gentry to shoot upon. And this is land that once held a huge rural population

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 6th, 2011 at 03:14:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Small holdings aren't economically viable UNLESS they are producing a high value crop or crops they can sell direct to consumer.  This is one of the big advantages of co-operatives: the co-op can 'bundle' and market the goods.  In turn this reduces the marketing/sales costs to the producer and allows the producer to 'capture' the middlemen profit either directly or through ownership shares of the co-op.  

Add a credit union, somewhere along the way, and now you're talking.

BTW, I have no illusions about the moral superiority of co-ops or credit unions.  These organizations do, however, provide a maximum return to and for the people who create the wealth while giving them a chance - whether it is seized or not - of having more control over their lives.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri May 6th, 2011 at 03:25:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't disagree, but a small holding can, in the cool temperate climate of Scotland, at least provide sufficient food and power for a family to live comfortably.

It may not be a varied diet, but with a little jiggery pokery, and co-ops help a lot to spread the load, a good living can be had. But the locality has to be willing to allow houses to be built - and more than those completely useless "crofts" which is simply 16th century technology

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 6th, 2011 at 04:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe Norway has some rule against absentee ownership of rural properties, demanding the owner to live there.

Åland island also has a ban on absentee ownership, though I believe that is only allowed within the EU due to a special deal when Finland joined the EU.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 6th, 2011 at 04:56:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Norwegian Land Act of 1995 can be found here.

Chapter IV. Protection of cultivated and cultivable land, etc.
Section 8. Protection of cultivated land

All cultivated land that can provide a basis for profitable operations shall be maintained.

The municipality 1 and the County Governor may prohibit measures that may result in poor maintenance of cultivated land. The municipality shall make recommendations concerning measures that should be implemented if land is poorly maintained or remains unused.

if the Ministry 2 finds that cultivated land is poorly maintained or unused, it may issue an order to the owner or lessee regarding the measures he shall implement in order that the land may be cultivated profitably, under the circumstances. The owner may also be ordered to lease out the land for a period of not more than ten years.

In the case of cultivated land that cannot provide a basis for profitable operations, the Ministry 2 may order that forests be planted on the land, or that measures beneficial to the cultural landscape be taken.

if the order has not been complied with upon expiry of the time-limit, the Ministry' may enter into an agreement that the land be leased out for a period of not more than ten years or make a decision to expropriate parts or all of the property in order to transfer it to others.

Orders may be issued on such conditions as are necessary for achieving the purposes of this Act.

1 Cfsection3.

2 Ministry of Agriculture pursuant to resolution no.413 of 12 May 1995
Section 9. Use of cultivated and cultivable land

Cultivated land must not be used for purposes that do not promote agricultural production. Cultivable land must not be disposed of in such a way as to render it unfit for agricultural production in the future.

The Ministry may in special cases grant an exemption if, after an overall evaluation of the circumstances, it finds that the agricultural interests should not have~priority. In so deciding, account shall be taken, among other things, of approved plans pursuant to the Planning and Building Act 1, operational or environmental disadvantages for agriculture in the area, the cultural landscape and the benefit to society that would result from land being disposed of for another purpose. Account shall also be taken of whether the land can be restored to agricultural production. The presentation of alternative solutions may be required.

Consent to dispose of land for another purpose may be given on such conditions as are necessary for achieving the purposes of this Act.

The exemption shall lapse if efforts to use the land for the purpose in question have not commenced within three years after the decision was made.

The Ministry 2 may order that illegal installations or buildings be removed.

Don't know what this all means in practice.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri May 6th, 2011 at 05:05:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like a start, but if the EU require special dispensations then it seems that corporate control is preferred

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri May 6th, 2011 at 05:10:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only about 5% of Norway is farmland with most of that in the Trøndelag.  So little arable land in the country has caused them to be protective of what they've got.  

And rightly so.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri May 6th, 2011 at 05:51:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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