The Crofting Commission is marking two significant milestones in the registration of crofts and common grazings. The Commission has received the first full registration for all common grazings within a single estate and the 600th croft has been registered on the Crofting Register.
The North Harris Trust has submitted their final common grazings registration for all of the common grazings held on the community landlord’s estate. The North Harris Trust is the first landlord to have registered all of their 16 common grazings which cover a combined area of just over 9000ha, with a total of 180 shareholders. The registering of the common grazings includes mapping of each common grazing, detailing boundaries, a list of shareholders in the grazings and any relevant resumptions, apportionments and crofter forestry schemes.
The Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 requires crofts and commons grazings to be registered on the Crofting Register held by the Keepers of the Registers of Scotland (RoS). The Crofting Commission is responsible for submitting applications for the registration of common grazings land and land held in runrig. To encourage registrations Scottish Ministers agreed, at the end of 2013, to meet the costs of first registration on the registers.
Karen MacRae, Project Development Officer at the North Harris Trust said “We are delighted to have mapped and registered all of the common grazings held on the estate. This work has ensured that the common grazings are clearly defined, providing certainty for future generations and supporting crofters in their usage and diversification activities on the common grazings”.
Area Commissioner for the Western Isles, Murdo Maclennan commented “This is a very welcome development for the Commission and, more importantly, for the crofting communities concerned. The Grazings Committees being reconstituted is an integral part of the process and these significant milestones for the Commission and the Crofting Register highlight the importance of crofters and Common Grazings Committees working together to submit their registrations. The North Harris Trust have safeguarded their common grazings for years to come”.
The Commission is also recognising another key milestone; croft 1A Kinerras, Kiltarlity in Inverness-shire is the 600th croft to be registered on the Crofting Register.
Crofters are being urged to take a collective approach towards croft registrations to realise the many benefits to group registrations, including bringing communities together around a common purpose, providing an organised approach for agreeing boundaries and the assurance that all croft land is captured and protected. Once on the Register the land will remain croft land, unless it is formally decrofted or resumed.
The Crofting Register was launched on 30 November 2012 and, over time, it will provide a clear record of the 750,000 hectares of land within crofting tenure in Scotland. Certain regulatory applications trigger the compulsory requirement to register a croft. These ‘trigger events’ mainly relate to actions requiring an application to the Crofting Commission for approval to change some aspect of the croft land, such as assigning or dividing a croft or the sale of a croft by an owner-occupier crofter.
Susan Walker, Convener of the Crofting Commission said: “The Crofting Register is a definitive map-based record for every croft in the country. It identifies and protects croft land by providing a clear statement of interest, easily available for the public to see and will assist the Commission in effectively regulating crofting. The Crofting Register is safeguarding this unique way of life for generations to come”.