The sporting rights on Raasay have been offered to the Raasay Crofters’ Association (RCA) for an initial period of five years.
The RCA have been offered the five year lease, with the option for an automatic 5 year extension, on the assumption that the RCA successfully meets the conditions set out in the lease. Officials from the Scottish Government will meet with the RCA to finalise the details which include ensuring transparency in management of the rights and measures to deliver enhanced community benefits from the sporting rights.
The Scottish Government held a consultation earlier this year on how best to manage Raasay’s sporting rights in order to maximise community benefits in future. The consultation responses have been published. This followed on from the controversy surrounding the decision by the Scottish Government to grant the sporting rights to a company from Ayrshire,
despite the asset having been built up by the crofters of the island for almost
Paul Wheelhouse MSP said:
“As I have stated previously, Raasay is a fragile island community and I fully recognise the importance of the sporting rights to the islanders.
“Since this issue arose, and following our reaching an agreement with South Ayrshire Stalking for them to withdraw from taking on the lease, we extended the existing lease for a year to allow RCA to continue to operate the sporting rights, while a longer term solution was reached. I subsequently visited Raasay and chaired a public meeting to hear from the community on how they felt the sporting rights should best be handled.
“During the subsequent formal consultation to capture the views of all residents on the island on the way forward, which yielded a 51% response rate, it became clear that retention of the sporting rights with the RCA would be the most popular option. Residents also expressed a strong desire for enhanced community benefit and greater transparency in regard to the operation of the sporting rights on Raasay.
“The proposed approach to a new lease offers the best solution in that it respects the wishes of the majority of the respondents that RCA should continue to have the sporting rights, but also ensures that the benefit to the community and the island is maximised. We look forward to discussions with RCA on how we can deliver the will of the community to the benefit of the RCA members and the wider community and also optimise the management of the natural environment on what is an island of outstanding beauty.”
[Photo Credit: Deer Scotland]