The first Crofting Register has been launched to give crofters legal certainty over their crofts.
The register is part of the modernisation of crofting the Scottish Government has undertaken as part of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010. This has also included launching the majority-elected Crofting Commission which aims to meet the needs of crofting and crofters in the 21st century.
The establishment of a definitive map-based Crofting Register will remove doubt over what is croft land and who has rights and responsibilities for that land. It will also assist the Commission in effectively regulating crofting such as tackling absenteeism and neglect.
The Scottish Government has worked with the Registers of Scotland to ensure that any costs relating to the Register are kept to a minimum in order to benefit crofters.
As well as meeting the full costs of developing the register a further £200,000 has been invested by the government towards the registration of croft land.
Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Crofting is an important part of Scotland’s history and culture. The new register will provide certainty to crofters by establishing an accurate and legal record of their boundaries.
“This has been a great example of partnership working in practice. The Crofting Commission, the Registers of Scotland, and the Scottish Government have worked together to ensure that crofters have a robust register at the lowest cost possible.”
Crofting Commissioner Susan Walker said: “The new Crofting Register represents a significant investment in crofting, which will provide legal certainty for holders of croft land and shareholders in common grazings.
“The idea of community mapping has considerable potential, not only to resolve boundary disputes which might arise during the mapping process, but as a collaborative process which could lead to wider benefits such as asset mapping and township planning.”
See this week’s Stornoway Gazette, out now, for a report looking into the Launch of the new register.