In your report of 28th February, Community versus corporate windfarms row, you report
on the “underlying message” from a council seminar “that a group of crofting villages
is throwing a spanner in the works and threatening the economic revitalisation vision.”
It is an outrageous affront to crofting tenure and the rights enshrined in it, which
the people fought for until statutory recognition was established in 1886, to suggest
that the present day crofters should stand aside and allow the landlord a free run
at using the land which has historically been theirs.
Section 19A of the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 makes it clear that shareholders
have security of tenure to their rights in the common grazings and the landlords
or their developers can only make use of the common grazings in the way that they
intend if the Scottish Land Court consent to their scheme.
All shareholders have a right before the land court to protect their rights by presenting
their objections to the scheme to the land court and have the land court measure
the strength of these objections against the scheme.
That right is enshrined in the legislation and supported by a convention in the land
court, to ensure that objections are not stifled, that the landlord will be found
liable for objectors legal expenses and the expenses of any experts, whether or not
the landlord is successful in obtaining consent for their scheme. Therefore, to suggest
that shareholders should not exercise their rights and statutory protections and
ask the land court to consider their objections is objectionable and undignified
for a council in a crofting county. Not even Leverhulme tried to take existing crofting
The “group of crofting villages” should not allow themselves to feel intimidated.