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New croft creation call

SCOTLAND NEEDS more crofts – 10,000 more to be precise – and the Scottish Crofting Federation is pressing the government to make their creation a central part of the next batch of land reform legislation.

Responding to a 'call for evidence' from the Land Reform Review Group, the body appointed by Scottish Ministers to agree a legal framework that will deliver 'greater diversity' of land ownership, the SCF said the new crofts should be made available by 2020.

"We have pressed the Scottish Government to set out the policies that will be put in place to facilitate rapid extension of the crofting system," said SCF vice-chair Fiona Mandeville.

"This is based on a fundamental belief, not only within SCF, that in the Scottish context crofting is the model best placed to deliver the emerging policy goals for agriculture and rural development. Review of land reform in Scotland should reflect these policy goals and so we have asked the Group to support our request.

"We want to see more people on the land; more families benefiting from a stake in Scotland and being able to take care of their own part of it," she said. "The current financial climate creates an opportunity like never before for public bodies to create new crofts for the many people who aspire to live and work in rural Scotland, and we must seize this opportunity.

"The vast majority of these crofts will provide a new, cost-effective means of caring for large areas of public land, but we see no reason why the private sector cannot play its part in realising this vision too, and the Scottish Government should consider land reform legislation to help enable this."

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