Tractor in the outer Isles

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SCF Concerns over Torridon Croft House Planning Refusal

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has voiced concern over the refusal by the Highland Council and Scottish Government to grant planning consent for a Torridon crofter to live on her croft.

SCF Vice-chair Fiona Mandeville said “It has very worrying implications for crofting, and the vibrancy of crofting communities, that a crofter is being refused permission to live on the croft that she works. It is particularly alarming that the decision appears to have been heavily influenced by the objections submitted by holiday home owners in the area, people who don’t themselves stay and work in the community yet feel they have the right to dictate on where a crofter can or cannot live.”

Mother-of-three Elaine Holmes’ hopes of living on her working croft in Schiehallion, Torridon, have been extinguished when her appeal to the Scottish Government Reporter to overturn a Highland Council decision was refused. The Highland Council planning committee, who refused to give planning consent, was split on a 7-7 vote and the decision was made on the casting vote of committee chairwoman. The committee received 9 objections to the application, but Miss Holmes claims that only three of the objectors play an active role in the community.

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Cabinet Minister talks about Scottish independence and agriculture

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead gave a talk at the
Royal Highland Show on independence and how it would affect Scottish
agriculture.

The speech as an audio podcast download -
http://soundcloud.com/scotgov/richard-lochhead-rhs

A summary of his talk is on YouTube -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R_2Veq1h9M

Text of speech -
http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Speeches/Ruralindependence21062013

'SCF is impartial in the independence debate, but will provide information
to members in order to help them make an informed decision. This is in line
with guidance given by the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator.'

SCF Disappointed with Scottish Government Marine Imposition

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has expressed disappointment at the Scottish Government’s decision to impose a marine Special Area of Conservation (mSAC) on the Sound of Barra, in the face of strong local opposition.

Roddy MacDonald, an SCF Director, said: “Maintaining Scotland's natural environment is essential work and the network of protected areas that the Government is obliged to designate under European law is part of that effort. However, environmental protection, as with economic development, should be carried out in an appropriate manner to ensure sustainability. The Scottish Government has failed to achieve the consent and support of the islanders for the Sound of Barra designation, leaving a void in the bigger picture. SCF is disappointed that the Minister has chosen to push ahead with it in the face of local opposition rather than working for local buy-in. It’s a decision that does not reflect well on the principles of local participation and it strengthens the case that we have made for root and branch reform of the way the Scottish Government tries to look after the nature of Scotland."


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Scottish Crofting Federation Launches Goose Petition

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has raised an on-line petition in the Scottish Parliament urging the Scottish Government to review its policy on the unfolding wild-goose debacle.

“Everyone seems to be aware of the terrible threat of escalating wild goose numbers” said SCF director Roddy MacDonald, “yet there is an apparent lack of Scottish Government action to do anything - in fact they are considering reducing the budget to control this pest. We have raised this petition in the Scottish Parliament to show the strength of feeling over this issue and to get some meaningful action before it is too late.”

The on-line petition calls on the Scottish Parliament “to urge the Scottish Government to address the problems created by increasing populations of wild geese in the crofting areas as a matter of priority; reassess its decision to stop funding existing goose management programmes, and assign additional resources to Crop Protection and Adaptive Management programmes to ensure this threat to the future of crofting is averted.”

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SCF Welcomes Rejection of Controversial Lochaber Decrofting

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Scottish Crofting Federation has welcomed the Crofting Commission's decision to reject as incompetent a controversial decrofting application in Lochaber that would have allowed ten houses to be built on a croft there. The SCF believes the decision is indicative of a strong new line against speculative development on croft land.

The application by Donald and Elizabeth MacGillivray to decroft part of their croft at Oldtown in North Ballachulish followed the couple's successful planning application for the right to turn the majority of the croft there into a housing development. Their planning application was eventually passed on appeal by a single Scottish Government reporter based in the Lowlands, despite having first been rejected by Highland Council's planning committee. It had been opposed by local crofters.

The MacGillivrays, who are long-term absentees from the croft, lodged their decrofting application before the new 2010 Crofting Act came into force. The 2010 Act granted new powers to the Commission to oppose speculative development on croft land. Because the MacGillivrays application was to be decided in terms of the pre-2010 legislation fears were raised that the Commission might therefore be forced to approve it.

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