​Highland Council urges crofters to make their voices heard

The Highland Council is encouraging crofters to stand as candidates in the upcoming Crofting Commission elections. The commission is the regulator of the crofting system, with commissioners responsible for promoting the interests of crofting and advising Scottish ministers.

Steve Barron, Highland Council’s Chief Executive said: “Crofting makes a vital contribution to the economy, environment and communities in Scotland’s rural areas. This is an important time to ensure a strong and vibrant future for crofters, which is why it’s vital to have a Crofting Commission made up of people who represent and reflect the interests and diversity of Scotland’s crofting community.”

Nomination forms and other documents relating to the election can be downloaded from www.cne-siar.gov.uk/electionoffice/croftingelection ; obtained on request, by e- mail to elections@cne-siar.gov.uk; or from the Election Offices detailed in the Notice of Election. Completed nomination forms must be submitted by Thursday 26 January 2017.

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Notes to editors

The elections will be administered by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The Scottish Government, the Comhairle and the Crofting Commission are working together to ensure a free, transparent and fair election process and to encourage a diverse range of candidates and high voter turnout.

There are around 16,000 crofters in Scotland, and 33,000 people living in crofting households. The average age for crofters is 59, but 12% are under 40. Some 34% are female.

More than 80% of crofts are in the Highlands and Eilean Siar (Western Isles). The remainder are on Shetland, Orkney Islands and Argyll and Bute. Crofts account for about a quarter of land area in the highlands and islands.

A public consultation on the regulations for the election took place from 18 March to 22 June 2016. These covered: the process of appointing a new Commissioner, should a vacancy arise before 2022; who can stand for election; absent and proxy votes; and the maximum amount and process for election expenses.

Commissioners work four and a half days per month and currently receive a daily rate of £161.29. Expenses are paid for travel.

19 Jan 2017
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