Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sporting Rights on Raasay to remain with Crofters

Raasay Sporting RightsThe 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
20 years.

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.”

Brian Inkster

[Photo Credit: Deer Scotland]

Decrofting effective after Royal Assent

Queen gives royal assent to Crofting (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2013

We shall decroft

The Crofting (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2013 become law on 31 July 2013 when it received Royal Assent. This will have come as a great relief to many owner-occupier crofters who were in decrofting limbo. What will also have been welcoming to those crofters was the speed at which the Crofting Commission, having halted the decrofting process, actually processed applications post 31 July with some decrofting directions being issued during the first week of August. With a 42 day appeal period that means that this coming week (assuming no appeals) many owner-occupier crofters will have effective decrofting directions for the first time since the Crofting Commission stopped accepting and processing applications on 25 February 2013 (i.e. 7 months later).

So relief for owner-occupier crofters but not yet for many owner-occupiers (who are not owner-occupier crofters) if they cannot get consent to decroft from neighbours who happen to be owners of part of what was the original croft unit. They will unfortunately remain in decrofting limbo. I have blogged previously on this blog about the inequity of this situation and will continue to do so in future blog posts.

Brian Inkster

[Photo Credit: The Queen at her Balmoral Estate in Scotland taken by Julian Calder]