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Landowners Offered New Route to Protect their Land for Future Generations

An interesting story has been in the news this week that concerns land-owning families and how they can continue to have control of their land after death, thanks to assistance from conservation organisations.

More specifically, the Law Commission has recommended a statutory scheme of conservation covenants to help estate owners wishing to protect their land for future generations to enjoy. A conservation covenant is a voluntary agreement between landowners and either an approved conservation organisation or a public body that will allow them to protect their land in perpetuity, whilst also conserving and restoring both the natural and built aspects of the estate.

There have been similar rules in place affecting what happens to land for a while, but it is only recently that pressures on land use have stepped up. Conservation groups like the National Trust and the Woodland Trust, as well as various public bodies, are hoping that these proposals will be welcomed by land-owning families hoping to complete their conservation objectives.

The proposals should appear attractive to landowners as it allows them to ensure their objectives for the land will be fulfilled even after their death or if the land is sold. It will also mean that land can be retained by a family whilst a conservation body will help protect the future use of the land. Countries such as Australia, Canada, Scotland and the USA already have similar practices in place along with various tax benefits.

The Law Commission commented that: "The scheme will create a versatile, simple and cost-effective legal tool capable of unlocking currently missed conservation opportunities; facilitating better ways to deliver existing conservation objectives; and providing assurance of long-term conservation benefits."

What do you make of these proposals? Do you think they are enough to protect the inheritance and conservation objectives of land-owning families?