The Crofting Commission is reminding crofters of their statutory duties. All crofters, both tenant and owner-occupiers, are required to comply with a number of statutory duties relating to residency and management of their crofts.
Following the first Crofting Census, issued last year by the Commission, nearly 5,000 crofters were found to have potentially been in breach of their duties by either failing to return the census form or stating on the form that they were not a resident on or within 32km of their croft, or that they were failing to cultivate and maintain their croft.
The Commission has sent out letters to the crofters providing information on a number of short term and long term options to consider to ensure they are complying with their duties in the future.
The Commission is committed to tackling non-compliance of duties, within its available resources, as Chief Executive, Catriona Maclean explains:
“Crofts are a valuable resource that should be available both now and in the future for existing crofters and new entrants to crofting to use productively.
“We want to encourage crofters to both understand their responsibilities and the options available to them to help them comply with their duties. Crofters can stay in control over what happens to their croft by self-regulating and choosing options so they can contribute to the system of crofting.
“The Commission takes its responsibility to regulate duties very seriously. However, we understand that even when some crofters are unable to live on or near their crofts they have an emotional connection to the area and we always try to work with crofters to resolve their situation with the best outcome for crofting in mind.
“The Commission are looking at a number of different initiatives including working with crofting stakeholders on some geographic pilot schemes where we will look at all aspects of our regulation to ensure compliance with duties and to help secure the future of crofting.”
Visit www.crofting.scotland.gov.uk/croftingcensus for more information.