Crofters are being urged to complete their sector's annual census – despite the added difficulty of it moving entirely online.

Following the issue of Crofting Commission letters to crofters reminding them to complete the census, the Scottish Crofting Federation has issued some guidance to help off-line crofters take part.

Chair of the SCF, Donald MacKinnon said: “This is the first year that paper census forms will not be sent out, which makes sense as we move away from wasteful paper processes. Crofters are being asked to submit their information electronically, either on a computer or a smart-phone, but this excludes many ‘off-line’ crofters who don’t use digital technology.

"However, the census is very short so asking a family member or friend to help is no great ask, and the commission has set up a helpline so you can phone on 01463 663439 and give the information asked for. The phone number is at the top of the letter.”

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Mr MacKinnon added: “The census is an important means for the regulator to gather information about the current situation regarding residency and use of crofts. We support this. We think that doing it every year is over-done and question whether processing this amount of information annually is the best use of resources, but the objective is right.

"We understand there will be additional capacity to deal with non-returners, and SCF urges every crofter to take a few minutes to meet their legal obligation and complete the census. This is our unique system and we want and need it to work better – good regulation starts with baseline data.”