|Printable version||E-mail this to a friend|
Crofters' views on reform published
Ministers came a step closer to reaching agreement on crofting reform yesterday with the publication of the analysis of the consultation on the draft crofting bill.
Environment Minister, Roseanna Cunningham said:
"More than 500 people attended 19 public meetings across the crofting counties to hear our proposals and give us their views. Many of these are reflected in the hundreds of written responses received.
"There is widespread agreement that, if crofting as a way of life is to continue, we must strengthen the regulator and tackle the fundamental issues of absenteeism, neglect and speculation on croft land.
"Building a sustainable future for crofting communities is enormously important to this Government and action must be taken to safeguard crofting's future.
"In the coming weeks I will continue to work with everyone with an interest in building success for crofting to reach consensus on the best way forward to tackle the fundamental issues threatening this unique and valuable way of life."
Consultation on the draft Crofting Reform Bill began on May 19, 2009, and closed on August 12 this year. A total of 422 responses were received to the written consultation and a total of 540 people attended the 19 public meetings. The report provides an analysis of the responses received during the consultation, including both written responses to the consultation document and oral responses made during the public meetings.
The responses demonstrate support for the principles of the Crofters Commission becoming more accountable and democratic, for the development of a map-based crofting register and for steps to be taken to tackle absenteeism and neglect. There was less demand for provisions which would enable crofters to secure bank loans against the value of their tenancies (standard securities) or for a requirement that houses built on land that has been decrofted must be used as a main residence (the occupancy requirement will not be taken forward).
Final amendments are being made to the draft Crofting Reform (Scotland) Bill which is scheduled to be put before Parliament ahead of the Christmas recess.