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Bill to cure decrofting law issue introduced

10 May 2013

The problem facing owner-occupier crofters seeking to decroft their land is to be cured by a bill just introduced to the Scottish Parliament.

In February the Crofting Commission suspended applications by owner-occupiers for decrofting directions after receiving advice that following amendments to the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993, no power existed to permit applications by owner-occupiers. The view was challenged, the the Commission affirmed its stance and the Government announced that it would bring forward a further amending bill.

Decrofting land can enable a house to be built on the land and facilitate crofting land being passed from one generation to the next. The bill gives effect to the intention of the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament that tenant and owner-occupier crofters be treated similarly under the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “There are, clearly, different legal opinions on this issue, and this bill will provide legal certainty for all involved in the process on the competency of owner-occupier crofter applications to the Commission to decroft their land, including those already in receipt of a decrofting direction or those whose application is currently held in abeyance."

It is hoped that the bill will become law before the summer recess.

The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee (RACCE) has issued a call for evidence on the bill, with a deadline of 17 May 2013. These should be sent to:
racce@scottish.parliament.uk

Click here to access the bill.

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