The Crofting Commission has praised crofters for completing and returning the first Crofting Census forms.
In October last year the Crofting Commission undertook an unprecedented data gathering exercise across the crofting community sending out Crofting Census forms to all crofts. Crofters were legally obliged to complete the census forms in full and return them to the Crofting Commission.
The Crofting Census forms have been well received with many crofters seeing the benefit to providing the information and helping to establish a clear picture of the current state of crofting. The Crofting Commission confirmed today that it has had a 76% return rate so far.
The Commission is sending out reminder letters this week to those crofters who have not yet completed their Census forms. Crofters will be given three weeks to complete their forms in full, answering all of the mandatory questions and return them to the Commission. Crofters failing to do so may incur a fine for non-compliance.
The Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 requires crofters to complete the Crofting Census each year and if they fail to provide the information without reasonable cause, by the date shown or knowingly provide false information they will be guilty of an offence under this Act.
The Commission has set up a dedicated helpline, 01463 663404, and the Census team are on hand to support crofters in completing their Census forms and to answer any questions they may have.
The annual Crofting Census will allow the Commission to gather an evidence base which will grow year on year, helping to develop the case for crofting. The Census allows crofters to contribute to shaping the future of their crofting community.
Crofting Commission Convener, Susan Walker said: “We are extremely pleased with the response to the Crofting Census. It shows the willingness of crofters to work together to secure the future of crofting and the importance placed on building a strong evidence base on the value of crofting.”
“The return rate demonstrates that crofters are increasingly aware of the need to comply with their duties.”
“I would encourage those crofters, who have not already done so, to complete the forms in full, answering all of the mandatory questions. The Census forms are quick and easy to complete and come with comprehensive guidance notes. If crofters require any support or guidance in completing their Census forms I would urge them to contact the Census team at the Commission or visit our website.”