A report by a committee of MSPs has broadly welcomed the Scottish government’s proposed changes to crofting legislation.
The rural affairs and environment committee has recommended the Crofting Reform Bill should now begin its passage through parliament.
Proposed new powers to tackle neglected croft land have been welcomed.
However, they have also called for action to improve rural economies in general.
I was thinking about the impact of this crofting bill on land use and land management and what it would mean for wild land policy, particularly how it handled absenteeism and neglect, and croft land registration and mapping.
I had the wonderful experience 5 years ago of staying for 3 months on Ardnamurchan on a croft that was not being worked due to the death of the tenant. The family were renting it out until they could work out what they could do with it, and whether they would keep it on.
The amazing thing was that due to the lack of grazing and mowing for a number of years ( apart from the occasional deer) the flora and fauna was quite unbelievable. There was such an incredible diversity of life zipping around the croft that summer it was a dizzying experience. The dragonfly population in particular was more dense than I’ve ever seen. I suspect this was due to the also very dense midge population! How long this would last in that state without further grazing or cutting I don’t know as I’m not an expert but I can still remember the experience vividly.