‘Minister approves Crofting Commission Plan’
Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, has approved the Crofting Commission’s Policy Plan. The submission of the plan to Scottish Ministers follows the election in March 2017 of 6 new Commissioners to the Board of the crofting regulator, based in Inverness.
The newly elected Commissioners joined 3 appointed members to make up the Board, whose first major task was to consider a Policy Plan to cover their 5-year term in office. The plan was submitted to Ministers within the legislative timescale, following a consultation period over the summer months. It considers key themes for crofting, such as the availability of croft land and its use, retaining land in crofting tenure and the use of common land, using these to inform a series of objectives and specific policies.
The purpose of the plan is to explain to tenants and owner-occupier crofters, landlords, organisations and agencies how the Crofting Commission will make decisions in line with legislation and also why crofting must be consistently regulated, to effectively bring benefits to crofting communities.
Crofting Commission Convener, Rod Mackenzie, welcomed news of the plan’s approval, saying, “This is an important day for the Commission and for crofting. As soon as the new members of the Board were in place, we were faced with the challenging timetable of coming together as a group and developing a Policy Plan, ready to submit to parliament within six months, not forgetting the need, most importantly, to consult on the proposed plan before we handed over the finished article.
I’d like to pay tribute to my fellow Commissioners for being so thoroughly engaged in this process, to the officers who guided us through and to everyone who responded to the consultation and helped our thinking. Crofting began as a form of regulated tenancy unique to the Highlands & Islands of Scotland, which has evolved so that the pattern of crofting today differs widely across the country. With the Policy Plan now in place to help articulate our objectives, the Commission will continue its work to show that a well-regulated system can deliver a wealth of benefits to crofters and crofting in Scotland.”
A copy of the Policy Plan can be viewed and downloaded here.