Buy out support offered to Scottish crofting communities

Communities living on Scottish Government-owned crofting estates are being offered assistance to investigate buying their own land, in a support package announced this week.

Dr Aileen McLeod, Scotland’s Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform announced the support while addressing the Community Land Scotland annual conference in Inverness.

The Conference brings together community landowners, existing and aspiring, alongside land reform campaigners, writers and government officials and interested parties.

Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Community Land Scotland have been asked by the Scottish Government to assist crofting communities on the Scottish Government Estate to understand better the ownership options and opportunities they have open to them if they wish.

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Dr Aileen McLeod said:

“Crofting is vital to communities, the economy and the environment in Scotland’s remote and fragile areas, and I recognise how important crofting is in helping to attract and retain people in our remote, rural and island communities. This is why we are encouraging crofting communities on government estates to consider the benefits of owning and managing their own estates. The Scottish Government remains a willing landlord. However, where a crofting community expresses a desire to take control of its own future we will support those ambitions and be an agreeable seller.”

Sandra Holmes, Head of Community Assets at HIE from HIE: “With our colleagues in Community Land Scotland, we want interested groups to have the full information to ensure they can make an informed decision. There is no obligation for these communities to continue with a buyout should they decide not to proceed.”

The package of support available for interested communities includes startup costs, feasibility and business planning support, a dedicated HIE case officer and mentoring from Community Land Scotland. Furthermore, Scottish Government will assist with land title mapping requirements.

The Community Land Scotland annual conference, held at the New Drumossie Hotel in Inverness and sponsored by Highlands and Island Enterprise, was opened by Professor James Hunter, historian and land reform campaigner. Issues addressed by over 100 delegates during the two day Conference include policy and legislative update, showcase sessions on the different types of community land buyouts, aftercare and advisory support for communities and a land reform panel debate.