Rural Affairs Committee


David Balharry from the Crofting Commission told MSPs he believed new decrofting legislation "addresses and solves the problem that has been raised", on Wednesday 15 May 2013.

He conceded "there are remaining complexities", particularly with regard to part-ownership of crofts.

Decrofted land is that which no longer falls under crofting rules and the house on it does not have to be tied to the croft land.

In February, the Crofting Commission suspended all decrofting applications on owner-occupied crofts following legal advice.

The Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse has introduced the Crofting (Amendment)(Scotland) Bill to amend the crofting legislation.

Sir Crispin Agnew QC from the Crofting Law Group said the bill was a "missed opportunity for putting right" a "whole host of problems that have arisen from the definition of an owner-occupier."

Earlier, Richard Frew from the Scottish government told the Rural Affairs Committee it was hoped the decrofting legislation would be passed in time for the Summer recess.

Mr Frew was responding to SNP MSP Graeme Dey's question about the timescale.

Mr Dey noted that if subordinate legislation had been used it would have taken 40 days to begin addressing the problem.

Kenneth Htet-Khin from the Scottish Government said "all other options had been considered" and it was decided a bill was the "most appropriate" course of action.

Derek Flyn from the Scottish Crofting Federation and Sandy Murray from the National Farmers Union Scotland also appeared before the committee.

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