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The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) proposes “three fundamentals” to form new fit-for-purpose legislation for the sector.


The organisation as lodged its response to the Scottish Government plan to reform crofting laws.


Russell Smith, chair of the SCF, said crofters do not want to lose any of their existing protection and rights and “therefore want existing law, law that has evolved over many years, to be made fit for purpose.”


There is the “perpetual hope” that crofting legislation will interfere with crofting less and help it more, he added.


The SCF says there “three fundamentals” that can be done relatively quickly and to great effect.


Mr Smith explained: ““To begin with, a lot of work has been done already by the Crofting Law Group on compiling the issues that need correcting to make the law work. The law can be fixed.


“Along with this, crofting development must be returned to the Crofting Commission which is best placed to implement it in conjunction with regulation.”


The Crofting Commission would then have a more “holistic role.”


“However, the Crofting Commission cannot carry out all its functions if inadequately resourced. So we call on Scottish Government to sufficiently resource the Commission.


“If it cannot, this needs to be stated and an alternative plan for crofting put forward.”


Thirdly, common grazings must be effectively regulated and grazings shares must be used, highlights the body.


Mr Smith said: “Shares getting separated from crofts is a failure of the law that really needs to be rectified and shares reconnected to active crofts and used.


“Then agricultural and rural development support schemes need to be appropriate to common grazings, not left as an after-thought.”


He concluded: “Do these three things and crofting will have a chance to flourish.


“A common theme from our membership has been to question why we are going through this navel-gazing again.


“There is a feeling that this is wasting valuable time given that the Scottish Government have set the target of ‘modernising crofting law and making it more transparent, understandable and workable in practice’ within the term of this government. This has already been a long road and needs to be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.”

Crofting Federation offers proposals for taking crofting forward

20 November 2017