The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the announcement from Minister for Environment, Paul Wheelhouse, that a bill will be raised in the Scottish Parliament to amend crofting legislation to authorise the Crofting Commission to consider decrofting applications by owner-occupier crofters.
Chair of the SCF, Derek Flyn, said “Having brought this to the attention of the Crofting Commission at the beginning of this year, it is gratifying to see that it is being acted on with due haste by the Scottish Government. The Commission took legal advice on the situation, as did the Scottish Government, and it appears they have accepted that there is a glitch in the Crofting Reform (Scotland) 2010 Act and that the only course of action is to introduce new legislation.”
Decrofting was originally made available to landlords who didn’t have a tenant, that is where a croft was vacant. Now it is seen as the way a crofter can develop his croft outside crofting controls. When the legislation was changed to treat owner-occupier crofters the same as tenant crofters, it also made clear that an owner-occupied croft was not vacant. It was therefore not available for decrofting.