Crofting Commission apologises to crofters

The Board of the Crofting Commission met in Brora on Wednesday morning.

Shortly after the start Commission Convener, Colin Kennedy, closed the meeting and left.

The remaining Commissioners decided to continue with business and hold a special meeting to work through the agenda.

A motion was accepted at that meeting requesting the Convener to tender his resignation.

A statement apologising to crofters over recent grazings cases in Lewis and Lochaber was read out and the Commission will now formally respond to the Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing.

The Commission stated: “The Crofting Commission wishes to apologise for the way it has handled recent grazings committee cases.

“Three unprecedented cases have been considered by the Commission under Section 47(8) of the Crofting Act and resulted in committees being put out of office.

“The decisions taken by the Commission have created a poor result for everyone involved.

“The actions taken in these cases did not enable communities to work together for the benefit of crofting and in fact have had an adverse impact on the crofting community.

“The Commission acknowledges that the recent decisions have caused prolonged uncertainty and anxiety not only for the three communities involved but for all crofters, and for this we are sorry.

“The Commission continually seeks ways to ensure it is delivering in the best interests of crofters and will ensure that any lessons learned from the cases can inform future procedures and decision-making.

“We will also continue to engage with Scottish Government to look at greater flexibility in crofting legislation.

“The Crofting Commission will continue to work alongside stakeholders to develop good practice guidance for grazings committees.

“We would like to reassure crofters that as the regulator of crofting, our main focus continues to be securing the future of crofting through effective regulation and we look forward to working constructively with crofters, grazings committees and crofting stakeholders.”