This report presents an independent analysis of responses to the Scottish Government’s public consultation on Crofting Legislation and Future Priorities for Crofting. The report presents the views of respondents to the consultation and an analysis of the points they made in their responses. It does not represent the view of the Scottish Government.
Crofting is a specific form of land tenure, subject to the provisions of Crofting Acts and regulated by the Crofting Commission. The law governing crofting activities dates from the original rights enshrined in the Crofting Holding (Scotland) Act 1886. At various points over the subsequent 130 years there have been changes, additions or amendments to crofting legislation. The last consolidating legislation was the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993, recent enough to be within living memory, but almost 25 years ago. The Crofting Reform etc. Act 2007 and the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 resulted in some major legislative changes and were followed by the Crofting (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2013.
During early 2017, the Scottish Government’s Crofting Bill Team held public engagement sessions with a number of individuals and groups with a stake in crofting. One of the main themes to emerge from these discussions, and other work that has been undertaken such as the Independent Inquiry into Crofting, the Crofting Law Sump and Rural Economy and Connectivity Report on future priorities for crofting was that the law, as it stands, is too complex and not suited to the needs and requirements of modern day crofting. However, it was less clear what any new legislation should look like, and whether legislation was necessarily the best way to implement all of the changes required.
The Scottish Government published a consultation paper  on the 28 August 2017, seeking views on the type of new legislation that may be required and priorities for crofting. The Scottish Government is committed to reviewing the modernisation of crofting law within this Parliamentary session, with this consultation helping shape any potential new Bill.
The consultation closed on the 20 November 2017.
1.2 Profile of respondents
A total of 122 responses were submitted. The majority of these were received through the Scottish Government’s Citizen Space consultation hub, although 30 were submitted via email or in hard copy. One response was submitted in Gaelic.
Table 1 below lists the type of respondents.
Table 1: Respondents by type
|Type of respondent||Number|
|Common Grazings Committee||4|
|Community Landowner or Body||2|
|Crofting or Smallholding Representative Body or Group||4|
|Estate, Landowner or Representative Body||2|
|Public Agency or Body||5|
The majority of responses (74%) were submitted by individual members of the public. The remaining responses (26%) were received from groups or organisations.
A list of the organisations that submitted a response is presented at Annex 1 to this report.
1.3 Analysis and reporting
The remainder of this report presents a question-by-question analysis of the comments made. A small number of respondents did not make their submission on the standard consultation form but submitted their comments in a statement-style format. When these responses contained a clear answer to one of the closed questions this has been recorded. The remaining content was analysed qualitatively under the most directly relevant consultation question.
Overall, the comments frequently diverged and there were relatively few frequently made points or common themes to emerge, making the responses challenging to analyse. This divergence of views, and lack of a clear consensus on many issues, is reflected within this report. Additionally, in some instances, respondents either appeared to have misunderstood current crofting law and/or were unaware of some of its provisions. The analysis presented within the remainder of this report focuses on giving an overview of the type and range of comments made.
Please note that a small number of respondents made very detailed comments, sometimes highlighting specific legal or technical issues. This report sets out only summary analysis of these comments. However, the Scottish Government’s Crofting Policy Team has also reviewed all submissions.
If the respondent gave permission to publish, their original response can be found on the Scottish Government’s website  .