It was reported online today in Farming UK that NFU Scotland has asked the Crofting Commission to bring forward a simple guide to best practice for grazing committees.
Sutherland crofter Sandy Murray, who chairs the NFU’s Crofting Highlands and Islands Working Group said:
It is in the best interests of all, that any Common Grazings Committee operates with up-to-date regulations and within the law.
The Crofting Commission is best placed to deliver guidance and clarification to any committee. If changes are needed, then a grazings committee meeting can be held as soon as possible, all stakeholders notified and steps taken to ensure that their grazing regulations are fit-for-purpose and up-to-date.
NFUS has called on the Commission to draw up simple and accessible best practice guidance on how grazings committees should be operating – clearly mapping out what they must do, should do and could do.
The Commission should then send this to all grazings committees and clerks along with the new common grazings regulations template and guidance – as available on the Commission website.
The Union supports active crofters and the active use of common grazings. In order to help achieve this we believe that there are real benefits in Common Grazings being regulated and having grazing committees in office, for the benefit of the common grazing and the shareholders.
The problem is that the Crofting Commission’s idea of best practice is very different from what crofters consider it to be and is also often at odds with what any sensible interpretation of the law says it is.
The NFU approach is not the answer to the problem. Crofters should be very wary at the moment of any guidance and clarification issued by the Crofting Commission and should take independent legal advice thereon.
It is hoped that the Scottish Crofting Federation meeting that was held in Ullapool yesterday results in more positive steps being taken that actually resolve ‘The Common Clearances’ and the alleged abuse of power within the Crofting Commission. More news on that to come.
Hahha, the NFU is joking, send it to the clerk of the grazings, look the issue is the rotten apples not the grazing committee that do a good job.
At one such grazing committee meeting I produced the SNH “Best Practice” for Muirburn because there where members who where dismissing hill management as unnecessary and illegal! These same members will receive the “guide” from the Commission and probably not even convene a meeting to discuss it.
If the commission is to solve this problem they have to send the documents to all members and with a questionnaire on the running, management and account situation of each grazing, plus I can think of 100 other questions, the replies the commission will get should paint a picture if the grazing committee has an underlying problem…….
Also the commission already has a new set of rules that should be used in the common grazing committee but it already out of date, leaves many loop holes for interpretation and above all still does not force the clerk or other members to be transparent.
In previous posts I have stated every member of the gratings should automatically be a member even if they do not turn up to meeting.
In this day and age with easy ability to record on mobile phones I see no reason why meetings can not be recorded, but I am sure that idea will not go down well!
Again I have to stress most committees are very well run, transparent and above board but some are more like being a member of Stalin’s Communist Central Committee!