Crofters managing sheep and cattle on Common Grazings face the biggest threat to their survival since the establishment of Common Grazings as we know them today.

For decades successive Governments have dismissed Common Grazings as irrelevant and have knowingly implemented policies which have not only significantly negatively impacted on many individual crofters but have had a catastrophic effect on the social and economic structures of Common Grazings themselves.

This policy of discrimination has culminated in this Government proposing future Agricultural and Environmental Support in the full knowledge that it will yet again see a significant number of Common Graziers excluded from accessing support.

The lie we are being asked to swallow is that this government, despite all the evidence to the contrary, can be trusted to secure an environmentally friendly, zero carbon, sustainable and profitable future for Scotland’s crofters. In fact nothing could be further from the truth.

The current direction of travel will see Scotland’s hills and glens cleared of the last sheep and cattle, alongside the extermination of our national deer population, and those hills abandoned to tens of thousands of hectares of impenetrable tick and bracken infested scrub wasteland riven by catastrophic wildfires.

The future for crofting is not green, it is very very black indeed. There is an old saying that the Scottish Crofting Federation and the National Farmers Union of Scotland should keep at the forefront of their thinking ‘if someone betrays you once, shame on them, if they betray you twice, shame on you’. Common Graziers have been betrayed by successive Governments time and time again.

Alastair Culbertson, Chairman Sleat General Common Grazings Committee, Ferrindonald, Skye