Crofting Reform Bill
Views are being sought on a range of measures to create a system of crofting 'fit for the 21st century'.
Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said that the Crofting Reform Bill will set communities on course for a 'stronger, brighter future'.
Launching a consultation into the draft bill, Ms Cunningham demanded an end to the 'corrosive effect of absenteeism, neglect and speculation' and the development of a system which allowed crofters to shape their own destiny.
The Minister said:
"Crofting offers a unique model of rural development that will help deliver sustainable economic growth in some of our most remote communities.
"The proposed Bill will help set crofting on course for a stronger, brighter future.
"We want to place crofters at the heart of decision making; enable them to access finance on the same basis as everyone else; and tackle the corrosive effect of absenteeism, neglect and speculation.
"These empowering changes will create a system of crofting tenure that does not languish in the past but is fit for the 21st century and is one capable of taking communities from strength to strength."
The proposals include:
- The introduction of Area Committees of the Crofters Commission to improve transparency, democracy and accountability
- An improved Crofting Register to reduce disputes over boundaries and rights
- Granting standard security over croft tenancies allowing crofters to access financial products
- An occupancy requirement for houses built on land taken out of crofting tenure that will address the damaging effect of speculation on croft land
- Tightening existing requirements on crofters to be resident on, or near the croft, and to work the land
The consultation ends on August, 12, 2009.
The Committee of Inquiry on Crofting was established in December 2006 by Scottish Ministers. They were asked to identify a vision for the future of crofting in Scotland in contributing to the outcomes of sustaining and enhancing the population, improving economic vitality, safeguarding landscape and biodiversity; and sustaining cultural diversity. They published their report on May 12, 2008.
The Government published its response to the Committee's final report on October 1, 2008. This outlined the Government's proposals for reforming crofting.
The draft Bill sets out the changes to legislation that are needed to deliver some of the proposals in the Government's response.