The Crofting Reform (Scotland) Bill was passed by The Scottish Parliament on 1 July 2010 and Royal Assent to the Bill was received on 6 August 2010. The Bill has now become the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.
A Crofting Reform Act Implementation Programme has been established with a Programme Board that is overseeing 4 implementation projects that will give effect to the provisions of the Act, these projects are:
1. Crofting Register;
3. New Duties and Transition; and
4. Subordinate Legislation.
What's going on at present?
The Elections of the 6 members to the Crofting Commission is currently underway with:
- The deadline for submitting changes to the Register of Crofts is 19 January 2012. This will be used to compile the crofting electoral role.
- The deadline for returning candidate nomination papers and application papers for proxy and absent votes is 26 January 2012.
- The elections will be conducted using a postal ballot with ballot papers being issued on 27 February 2012 with the count taking place in Inverness at The Highland Council Headquarters on 16 March 2012.
More details can be found on the Elections Project page.
What has happened so far?
- The Notice of elections to the Crofting Commission was published on 5 January 2012. More details can be found on the Elections Project page.
- The Crofting Commission (Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 came into force on 22 December 2011. More details can be found on the Elections Project page.
- The Crofting Commission (Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 were approved by Parliament on 21 December 2011. More details can be found on the Elections Project page.
- Laid in the Scottish Parliament on 22 November 2011, Affirmative Instrument - The Crofting Commission (Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 . More details can be found on the Elections Project page.
- Published on 14 November 2011, the consultation analysis report on the draft Crofting Commission (Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2011. More details can be found on the Elections Project page.
- Published on 31 October 2011, the Responses to the consultation on the draft Crofting Commission (Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2011, where permission was given by respondents to publish their responses.
- The Crofters Commission became a statutory planning consultee on 1 October 2011. More details can be found on the New Duties and Transition Project page.
The provisions in the second commencement order (excluding those which relate to the Crofters Commission) commenced on 1 October 2011
Second commencement order was made on 16 September 2011 . The Schedule to this Order commences these provisions in two phases. Details of the provisions in the Order is explained in the summary note.which can be found on the Subordinate Legislation Project page.
- Consultation to the draft Crofting Commission (Elections) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 launched on 13 July 2011 and ran until 5 October 2011. Full details of which can be found on the Elections Project page.
- The last two provisions of the first commencement order, section 40 (which limits a crofters nominated disponee to a family member) and section 41 (extending the period during which a sum is payable to the landlord) were came into force on 1 July 2011. The effect of these provisions is explained in a summary note.
The provision in the first commencement order relating to the Land Court and stated case commenced 1 February 2011.
- The Scottish Government's Report on the Economic Conditions of Crofting was laid in the Scottish Parliament on 23 December 2010. This report covers the period 2007 to 2010 and uses the latest information available.
Provisions in the first commencement order (excluding those which commenced on 1 February and 1 July 2011) commenced 22 December 2011.
- First commencement order made on 7 December 2010. Details of this order can be found on the Subordinate Legislation Project page.
What's happening next?
- The Scottish Government are working with the Registers of Scotland, the Crofters Commission and other key stakeholders to build the new Crofting Register. Details on the Crofting Register will appear on the Crofting Register web pages during the summer of 2012, and details will also appear on the Crofters Commission and Register of Scotland's web pages.
- The Crofters Commission will shortly begin preparing applications to register Common Grazings on the new Crofting Register.
- Officials are working on The 3rd Commencement order which will bring into force the remaining provisions of the 2010 Act which cover the Register provisions. This is expected summer 2012. Details will appear on the Subordinate Legislation web pages during the summer of 2012.
- The Crofters Commission is currently undertaking work to prepare for its transition to the Crofting Commission, which will come into being on 1 April 2012.
The main benefits of the Act include:
Reform of the Crofters Commission. Having a Commission where the majority of members are democratically elected will ensure that crofting is regulated in a way that meets the concerns of crofters and safeguards the wider public interest. The new Commission will consist of between 5 and 9 members, the majority of whom (up to 6 members) will be crofters elected by crofters. A minimum of 2 further members will be appointed by the Scottish Ministers, which must include a landlord and a Gaelic speaker if neither are elected.
Establishment of a new, definitive map-based Crofting Register. An accurate, legal register of interests in, and extent (boundaries) of, crofts and common grazings is vital to securing the future of crofting. The register will remove any doubt in future over what is croft land and who has the rights and responsibilities in respect of that land. The current Register of Crofts does not do this. The new Register will be completed over time and will be operated by the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland. The Scottish Government wants to encourage voluntary, community-led mapping and registration and has agreed to delay implementation of mandatory registration for up to a year after the creation of the Crofting Register. The Government will also offer an incentive for voluntary group registration of crofts.
Effective regulation of crofting that addresses neglect of croft land and absenteeism. The Commission will ensure that crofts are occupied and worked and, if not, that they are made available to those who want to croft.
Further amendments to the 1993 Act to help tackle pressure on croft land from speculation on the development value of croft land by strengthening the grounds on which the Commission may reject a decrofting application. Similar provisions will apply to the Land Court's consideration of resumption applications.