02 Dec 2015
It was recently announced that Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, has agreed to the development of a new digital land and property information system in Scotland. The online system is to be named ‘ScotLIS’ (Scotland’s Land and Information System) and will allow the general public and professionals to access a wide range of information regarding land or property in Scotland with a simple enquiry. The information available will include matters such as school catchment areas, mining reports, flood risks and crime statistics - statistics that people often need when making property decisions. It is anticipated that ScotLIS will provide a comprehensive information service and will play a key role in land reform in Scotland.
It is intended that the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland, Sheenagh Adams, will play an important role in the creation of ScotLIS, with the assistance of other organisations, and that it will be fully operational by October 2017. Sheenagh Adams is of the view that ‘Scotland is a step closer to having a single enquiry point that will reduce both the risks and costs of doing business, as well as providing a more convenient and efficient service for customers’. The system will be created using information from a variety of sources including Ordinance Survey, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Government and local
The system will allow for greater transparency for individuals and businesses buying property in Scotland and will minimise the risk, time and expense in such transactions. Other countries, such as Norway, have similar systems in place and the perception is such countries are much easier to ‘do business in’. ScotLIS is an important development and must be seen as a significant land and property initiative for Scotland. It is hoped there will be significant return on the investment for both the public and private sectors.
The availability of key information regarding land and property will certainly assist purchasers and allow them to be fully informed before making the decision to purchase a property in Scotland.