Policy & Lobbying
Crofting
Crofting is a heavily regulated form of land tenure peculiar to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. It has been remarkably successful in keeping small, fragile and often remote communities alive.

It is not exclusively beneficial to crofters and their families. Their very existence provides a huge and highly valued, but largely unrecognised, resource, which enables many other people to enjoy some of the most cherished areas of Scotland.

Traditional crofting landlords and crofters have very much more in common than separates them, with common aspirations for their areas. However, this is often not recognised. Landowners have a lot to offer to crofting but their role has become marginalised and diluted, partly for historic reasons which are no longer relevant in modern Scotland.

Scottish Land & Estates crofting policy positions:
  • Crofting legislation should be consolidated into a single Act;
  • Crofting policy should allow landlords, crofters, properly constituted and democratic grazing committees and the Crofting Commission to work together to reduce bureaucracy, devolve decision making to the appropriate level and encourage co-operative working.
  • In most areas of the Highlands, the market in both croft sales and assignations is highly damaging to crofting, particularly in preventing young local people getting a foot on the crofting ladder.
  • The individual’s right to buy their croft house site and land has been damaging to crofting since it was introduced in 1976.
  • Scottish Land & Estates strives for a greater recognition of a positive role for landlords, which in turn will encourage more positive action from landowners. We would like to see a recognition that crofting landlords can bring experience and estate management expertise which can facilitate joint projects for the benefit of the whole community.
  • Crofting estates should continue to provide a way into crofting for new people which does not involve paying inflated prices; larger crofting estates with a range of crofts should be able to provide a ‘ladder’ for crofters to progress up.
  • Scottish Land & Estates opposes any extension of crofting to areas outside historic crofting lands. The associated risks to the fragile confidence in the let land sector exacerbates the problem. The effect of the individual crofter’s right to buy croft land once again is at the root of this concern.

    Crofting News

    • 05/05/2016 - Article on Land Tenure and Benefit of Larger Estates
      In Issue 53 of Reforesting Scotland, Scott McG. Wilson argues that large rural estates in Britain retain some clear advantages for sustainable land management and ecological restoration.  Click on the article to read more:
      read more...

    • 20/02/2015 - Crofting
      Scottish Land & Estates this week submitted written evidence to the Rural Affairs Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the Minister’s amendments on crofting community right to buy.  A link to the oral evidence session can be found
      read more...

    • 16/10/2014 - The Crofting Census
        The Crofting Commission is carrying out a data gathering exercise across the crofting community.   Following the implementation of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, the Crofting Commission has
      read more...

    • 16/04/2014 - New Research Reveals Significant Annual Investment On Tenanted Farms And Crofts By Estates
      Rural estate owners are investing an average of £69,000 per year on their tenanted farms and crofts, new research has revealed.   The figures, which demonstrate the commitment of estate owners to the tenanted sec
      read more...

    • 31/01/2014 - New post to support Crofting Register
      Registers of Scotland (RoS) has been asked by the Scottish Government to engage with crofting communities to facilitate and encourage group registrations of crofts and RoS has announced that it will be creating a new post to undertake this engagement. This new
      read more...

    • 28/10/2013 - The 'Crofting Law Sump'
      The Crofting Law Group has announced details of its Crofting Law Sump. The purpose of ‘the Sump’ is to gather together details of the significant problem areas within existing crofting legislation. During the recent passage through the Scottish Parliament o
      read more...

    • 15/10/2013 - Crofting Commission Consults Grazing Committees
      The role of common grazings is central to the contribution crofting can make to the sustainable development of communities throughout the Highlands and Islands. Crofting provides a unique way to utilise these assets through registered Grazing Committees and, this week, the Crofting Commission laun
      read more...

    • 19/09/2013 - Raasay sporting rights offered to local crofters
      Following consultation the sporting rights on Raasay have been offered to the Raasay Crofters’ Association (RCA) for an initial period of five years.
      read more...

    • 05/07/2013 - 'Blueprint for Crofting Commission Approved'
      After celebrating a first anniversary in April, the Crofting Commission now has another landmark to celebrate, with the formal approval of the Policy Plan for its term of office, by Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change. For Convener
      read more...

    • 27/06/2013 - Decrofting Legislation Passed
      Decrofting legislation to tackle the difficulties owner-occupier crofters are facing when applying to decroft their land has been passed by the Scottish Parliament.
      read more...

    • 31/05/2013 - Rural Affairs Committee backs decrofting legislation
      Legislation that will allow owner-occupier crofters to decroft their land has been supported by the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee. However, the Committee has drawn concerns about its complexity to the attention of the Scottish Governme
      read more...

    • 10/05/2013 - Decrofting legislation introduced to Parliament
        Decrofting legislation to tackle specific difficulties owner-occupier crofters are facing when decrofting their land has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament. The Crofting (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill was introduced on 9th May and
      read more...

    • 18/04/2013 - New Chief Executive for the Crofting Commission
        Ms Catriona Maclean has been appointed the new Chief Executive of the Crofting Commission. Catriona is from a crofting family who still live in Tong on the Island of Lewis. Born in Glasgow her family returned to Lewis where she completed her secondary education at the Nicolson Inst
      read more...

    • 28/02/2013 - Decrofting issue needs swift resolution
        Crofting Lawyer, Brian Inkster, believes that the Crofting Commission may not be correct when it announced that, based on legal advice sought and obtained by them, it did not appear competent for them, on the application of an owner-occupier crofter who is occupying their croft, to make a direction that the
      read more...

    • 12/07/2012 - Crofting Register Consultation
      Registers of Scotland has issued a Consultation Paper on Application Forms for the Crofting Register. The Consultation Paper includes guidance on the application forms and also guidance on submitting plans to the Keeper. Members are asked to send comments to
      read more...

    • 02/04/2012 - A new era for crofting
       Scotland’s Crofting Commission is now open for business – and Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson met the new commissioners for the first time today. The Crofting Commission – which was established on April 1 and supersedes the Crofters Commission – aims to meet the needs of crofting and
      read more...

    • 22/03/2012 - Crofting update
      Scottish Land & Estates members and staff have been active on crofting issues in the last few weeks. Members of Scottish Land & Estates crofting sub-group met with Scottish Government staff to discuss the implementation of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 and specifically the creation of the Crofting Register. St
      read more...

    • 06/01/2012 - New era for crofting
      The starting gun for the first ever crofting elections was fired this week with the official publication of the Notice of Elections.
      read more...

    • 06/10/2011 - Scottish Crofting Federation Gathering: Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Skye 3-4 October
      Members Dr Jean Balfour and Mark Pattinson together with Highland Regional Manager Drew McFarlane-Slack attended the latest SCF Gathering on Skye entitled ‘1886 and all that’, referencing the original Crofting Act. Before the start of the event they were joined at their table by Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson and
      read more...


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