News release - 29/9/09
For immediate use
Rob Gibson, SNP MSP for the Highlands & Islands, has welcomed the Scottish Government announcement today by Crofting Minister Roseanna Cunningham to remove draft plans for a residency requirement on decrofted houses.
Mr Gibson said:
"This welcome news shows that the Scottish Government is listening intently to crofters' views and needs for this draft legislation to ensure it will tackle the real problems faced in crofting today.
"After much lobbying from myself as well as the Crofting Foundation and others the Minister has rightly indicated that the residency requirement in the draft bill will not be carried into the Bill itself. This requirement would place an unworkable role on local authorities who would be required to assess decrofted land and determine whether those living there had been doing so for 184 days per year.
"There is still a major problem of speculation of croft land, but it is in the interest of everyone involved in crofting to produces workable measures. Doing nothing about speculation is not an option as the Crofting Minister has said, but her willingness to remove this requirement reflects well on her and all those who made their feelings known during the consultation.