News

The future of crofting

Published: 18 Mar 2021 09:30

Keeping crofting at the heart of rural communities.

A plan has been published setting out how crofting can be supported to flourish in the future.

The National Development Plan for Crofting highlights the core elements necessary to ensure that crofting continues to play an integral role in rural and island life, as well as delivering policy priorities for climate change mitigation and biodiversity.

The plan was developed by The Scottish Government, working closely with key stakeholders.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“Crofting has a special place in Scotland’s cultural heritage. In many cases rural and remote rural communities would not exist if it was not for crofting. We recognise the vital role farmers and crofters play, especially through the pandemic when they have worked tirelessly to put food on the table for the people of Scotland and I want to offer my thanks to them.

“We now need to realise the potential for croft land to address the climate change and biodiversity challenges and to support thriving rural communities. Land is a key asset, and we need to optimise its use to produce food more sustainably, to cut emissions and enhance our environment.

“We need crofters to adapt to new circumstances and encourage modern approaches to crofting, with diversification into agri-tourism, woodland regeneration and creation, local food networks, and the restoration of our degraded peatlands. This plan has been developed with key stakeholders and we will continue to work them, including the Crofting Commission, which is critical to the wellbeing of crofting.

“Speaking recently to leaders of the crofting communities, the Scottish Crofting Federation, they expressed their view that there are a great number of people who would wish to become crofters. In fact in the last two years we have seen 830 more people join that community. So we want to help enable this to happen and help us welcome more people to the crofting community.

“This National Development Plan is a step in that direction and sets out the ways in which we can keep people on the land and support them to live productive and sustainable lives and can secure a vibrant and resilient future for a unique way of Scottish life.”

Background

The National Development Plan for Crofting

In developing the National Development Plan and its various elements, Scottish Government officials worked closely with key crofting stakeholders, including the Crofting Commission, NatureScot, NFUS and the Scottish Crofting Federation and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and other Scottish Government departments such as RPID, Housing, Environment and Biodiversity, and Scottish Forestry. 

The Crofting Stakeholder Forum is comprised of representatives of the following organisations:

  • Scottish Crofting Federation
  • NFUS
  • Crofting Commission
  • Scottish Land & Estates
  • SAC Consulting
  • Scottish Land Court
  • COSLA
  • Woodland Crofts Partnership and Croft Woodlands Project
  • NatureScot
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Registers of Scotland