Tavish Scott MSP will be holding a meeting with Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, in the Cunningsburgh Hall at 12.30 pm.
The agenda for the meeting is firstly to discuss crofting regulation, recognition of the particular crofting needs of Shetland, whole croft decrofting and the crofting registration process with the Registers of Scotland. This will be followed by a discussion concerning the economic future of Shetland crofting, including the market position in 2015 for lambs, the payment timetable for the Single Application Form (SAF) and the timescale for approved Scottish Rural Development Programme applications from Shetland.
Dr McLeod will be accompanied by the Head of the Agricultural Development and Crofting Unit, Gordon Jackson. Local attendees include former Crofting Commission Convener, Cllr Drew Ratter. The President of the Shetland branch of the National Farmer’s Union, Jim Nicolson and his predecessor, Cecil Eunson. The Chairman of the Shetland Livestock Marketing Group, Ronnie Eunson. The Parliamentary Spokesperson for the Scottish Crofting Federation, Norman Leask. Cllr Alistair Cooper and Douglas Irvine from the Shetland Islands Council, along with Shetland crofter, Robert Nicolson.
Tavish Scott has previously commented on the state of Shetland crofting:
‘‘Crofting regulations are out of step with the needs of active crofters across Shetland. In part this reflects a very different pattern of land ownership in the Northern Isles compared to other parts of the Crofting Counties.
‘‘The current one-size-fits-all approach is simply not appropriate, and rules need to be tailored to better fit local circumstances. The challenges Shetland face are not the same as the Western Isles. The opportunities are different too. Yet, no account is taken of this either in the legislation or the way in which the Crofting Commission applies the rules.
‘‘I have had many crofters in touch over not being able to de-croft land or to take forward whole croft decrofting. This often means banks will not lend money against crofting assets. This tops vital investment in local businesses and that is not in anyone’s interest.’’