Bill passed to secure future of crofting
The Scottish Parliament yesterday overwhelmingly backed a Bill to revitalise Scotland’s crofting communities.
The Crofting Reform Bill introduces powers to create new crofts, bring neglected croft land back into productive land and extend crofting tenure beyond the crofting counties.
It builds on the Executive’s land reform legislation which has already seen successful community buy-outs of croft land.
Speaking during the stage three debate Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie said:
‘This is an important Bill.
‘Already the Land Reform Act has liberated and inspired crofting communities.
‘This Bill was introduced to promote more sustainable crofting communities, more local involvement in crofting administration, simplified crofting regulation, more active crofters and to give crofters greater scope to diversify their activities.’
Deputy Rural Development Minister Sarah Boyack added:
‘Crofting has played a vital role in sustaining remote rural communities and the economy of the Highlands and Islands.
‘This Bill is not the last word in crofting legislation.. It is part of a long term commitment by the Executive to the future of crofting, crofting communities and some of the most fragile island and rural parts of Scotland.
‘Its will help to bring new business and new blood into crofting areas, revitalising crofting for the 21st century.’
The Scottish Executive announced during stage two of the Bill’s progress through Parliament that a Committee of Inquiry would be established to consider issues around the role and function of the Crofters Commission.
Professor Mark Shucksmith, Professor of Planning at Newcastle University, has been appointed to chair that committee.
Communities on Gigha, Colonsay, Shetland and Orkney are considering how these powers could be use to boost local populations and enhance their economies
Small-holders on Arran have expressed an interest in converting their land into crofts.
Source: Scottish Executive