Highlands & Islands

Crofters oppose proposals for 'duty to report' law

Machair on Western Isles
Image caption A number of crofts can share an area of common grazing land

The Scottish Crofting Federation has voiced its opposition to proposals which would require crofters to report on the condition of neighbours' crofts.

The planned "duty to report" law would cover absenteeism and the neglect of crofts sharing common grazing land.

The federation said people could already do this in confidence and that making it law would discourage crofters from forming grazings committees.

The Crofting Commission is currently consulting on the proposals.

It said it was not aware of concerns about the plans.

The Scottish Crofting Federation has made a submission opposing the move.

Chief executive Patrick Krause said grazings committees were voluntary bodies who were responsible for the management of common grazings - land shared by a number of crofts.

"It is difficult enough to get grazings committees together without extra duties being laden upon them, and it is feared that this duty could further discourage crofters from forming grazings committees," he said.

Mr Krause added: "There seems no reason to burden hard-pressed grazings committees further when there is abundant provision to gather information about crofts already."

An absentee crofter is one who does not live on or use their land.

The Scottish government has attempted to tackle the problem of absenteeism through the Crofting Reform Bill.

In 2010, when the reforms were passed, the government said there were almost 2,000 absentee crofters and an unknown number of neglected crofts out of the 18,000 across the Highlands and Islands.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites