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Who Owns Scotland? Series Premiere Sun 24 Oct on BBC Scotland

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When we think about land ownership in Scotland we tend to think of rural areas – highland estates, grouse moors and community-owned islands – but in this first episode of the two part Who Owns Scotland? Martin Geissler investigates our urban land.

From city centre landmarks and public parks to derelict buildings and dying town centres, Martin shows how land matters to all of us – and asks whether the way we think about and care for our urban land needs to change.

Although Scotland has the oldest system of land registration in the world, it can be surprisingly difficult to find out who actually owns the buildings, parks, local landmarks and empty spaces in our towns and cities. With input from experts, researchers and design specialists, Martin maps the very latest information on land ownership in urban Scotland, revealing not just what we do know, but also what we don’t know, and why.

He travels to towns and cities to find out how land ownership affects everyday lives. He visits a derelict hotel in Ayr which is a blight on the town, and finds out why so much of the land along the river Clyde remains empty and undeveloped. He sees how new approaches to land ownership on new build estates are causing stress to homeowners and asks whether public spaces like those in Edinburgh are becoming too dominated by private interests. He also visits Huntly in Aberdeenshire, where the townspeople have seized control of their own destiny and bought back parts of their high street.

Who Owns Scotland? is made by Red Sky Productions for BBC Scotland is part of BBC Scotland’s programming looking at climate and environmental issues, ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.

Airdate: Sunday 24 October 2021 at 9.00pm on BBC Scotland.

Season 1 Episode 1 (of 2)