Contributing to the future of crofting – The Crofting Census
The Crofting Commission is carrying out an unprecedented data gathering exercise across the crofting community.
Following the implementation of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, the Crofting Commission has a duty to issue the Crofting Census, which is known legislatively as the Annual Notice. In October 2014 over 18,000 Crofting Census forms will be sent out. This is a new and complex task and preparations for it are well underway within the Commission.
Crofters are legally obliged to complete the census forms and return them to the Crofting Commission. There is a three month completion deadline for the Crofting Census and they must be returned to the Commission by 16 January 2015.
The Crofting Commission is asking for information on what you do with your croft and any common grazing share. This will help to establish a clear picture of the current state of crofting and enable the Commission to use the information to advise Scottish Ministers, the Scottish Parliament and other agencies of the value of crofting and its contribution to life in Scotland. With the information provided, the Commission will be able to better understand and raise issues facing the future of crofting.
The Commission is promoting self-regulation and the census will allow crofters to better understand their responsibilities in fulfilling their duties. Self-regulation provides more control and management over their croft and community. Susan Walker, Convener for the Crofting Commission commented “Crofting is a form of land tenure unique to Scotland and one we should be proud of, with the potential to be a major driver for economic, social and cultural growth. Regulation is there to protect this precious asset for present and future generations. The Census will highlight various options available to crofters in complying with their duties and the Commission will be on hand to advise on the opportunities you may wish to consider.”
The annual Crofting Census will allow the Commission to gather an evidence base which will grow year on year, helping to develop the case for crofting and creating persuasive arguments for issues such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform over the coming years. The Census allows crofters to contribute to shaping the future of their crofting community.
Crofters are urged by the Commission to make their contribution count by ensuring that they complete and return the census forms. The Census is a record of activity on every croft across Scotland and a form must be completed for each croft held. As Catriona MacLean, Chief Executive of the Crofting Commission explains “The Crofting Census will increase information gathered from crofters and owner-occupier crofters enabling us to work together. The Census will allow the Commission to show the value of crofting not only to the Scottish economy, but also in building sustainable communities and contributing to population retention. The Census forms are quick and easy to complete and they’ll come with comprehensive guidance notes.”
For further information visit www.crofting.scotland.gov.uk/croftingcensus.