Crofting law apology sought from Government

The Scottish Government has been urged to apologise for a flaw found in crofting legislation.

Environment minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that the 2010 Crofting Act “inadvertently” treats those who own a croft differently from crofting tenants.

The law limits when owner-occupiers can apply to decroft their land, formally removing some or all of it from crofting tenure. Mr Wheelhouse said the Scottish Government would bring forward legislation after Holyrood’s Easter break to address the situation.

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Labour environment spokeswoman Claire Baker said: “This is not the first time this session the government has had to seek to reverse a decision on crofting, and it is not good enough. Will the minister apologise to the crofters who have been affected over this recent situation?”

Mr Wheelhouse accepted that “clearly there is a flaw in the legislation”, adding: “We have to take action as a parliament to make sure this is addressed quickly.”

But the Crofting Commission, which regulates crofting, received legal advice that the Act “inadvertently limits the circumstances in which owner-occupier crofters can apply to decroft land”.

Mr Wheelhouse said this has left nearly 60 crofters “in an uncertain position”.