Thursday, 13 May 2010

Gibson promotes map system for crofting future

News release
Immediate release

Rob Gibson SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands has highlighted the importance that a legally valid mapping system has to promoting a positive future for crofting communities during a debate in the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Gibson's argued that such a system would root out absenteeism and give crofters greater security.

Mr Gibson also welcomed the vote which passed the first stage of the Governments Bill on Crofting reforms was passed in the Scottish Parliament with out amendment. He said that the amendment proposed by the Labor Party (which was voted down) would have kept crofting in the 19th Century. He said that the Bill had the potential to take crofting into the 21st century.

Responding to Labour and LibDem MSPs who oppose a map based croft register, he said:

" Previous governments before and after devolution have failed to instruct the Crofters Commission to root out neglect and deal with absenteeism. In the 21st century the mapping of all land holdings is seen as key to plan land use and give individual land holders secure, legally binding title.

"Crofters who sell part of their crofts pay for registration, in around 500 cases a year, this SNP Government welcomes agreement by MSPs that a community based croft mapping scheme is acceptable. But ultimately boundary disputes and individual crofters responsibilities will be best served by a legally-binding map based register."

Mr Gibson welcomed the passage of the first stage of the Crofting Bill saying.....

"I am delighted that the Labour amendment was defeated tonight. This would hold back crofting regulation into a pattern more suited to the 19th century. I hope to see the new Crofting Commission draw up crofting development plans. These will help planners and crofters to build a bright future."

"I also hope to introduce an amendment to the bill at the next stage to introduce simple annual reports by Grazing Committees as to the uses and misuses of crofting land. This should act as a spur to the Crofting Commission to priorities the removal of the worst examples of neglect and help crofters make far better use of the available land."


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