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First Crofting Commission Elections - Date Announced

5th January 2012

First Crofting Commission elections begin as Minister names appointed members.

The starting gun for the first ever crofting elections was fired today with the official publication of the Notice of Elections.
http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/elections/croftingcommission/

For the first time, six people will be democratically elected by Scotland's crofting community to represent their interests. The remaining three spaces are to be filled by Ministerial appointment, today announced as Susan Walker, William Swann and Sandy Cross.

The postal ballot for the further six members will take place in March 2012 with the count on March 16. The official change from the current Crofters Commission to the Crofting Commission will then come into effect on April 1, 2012.

Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson said:"I am delighted to announce the appointment of Susan, William and Sandy who will bring a great deal of knowledge, experience and drive to the Crofting Commission at this very important time for crofting.

"Crofting is the very fabric of many of our rural communities, and has inspired songs, literature and art for hundreds of years. The Scottish Government wants to give crofters a voice to determine their own future and these first ever Crofting Commission elections is a solid step down that road.

"Crofting has defined cultural shifts in our history. Today marks another historic moment - when Scotland's crofters get a seat at the table to make decisions that affect their future.

"The Scottish Government believes crofts that are occupied and worked can be the biggest contribution to the sustainable economic growth and development of our crofting communities. Having an effective regulator is a vital part of achieving that aim."

Eleanor Arthur, Shetland Crofter and Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation, said:
"The crofting elections are an exciting development for crofting as crofters will be able to directly influence how crofting is regulated in the future. I would encourage all crofters who are eligible to vote to make sure the commission have the correct details for them so that they receive a ballot paper. They should also consider standing for election and they should certainly encircle their vote."

The Highland Council's Chief Executive Alistair Dodds is the Returning Officer for the 2012 crofting elections. Mr Dodds said:"This landmark election is a great opportunity for crofters to engage with the decisions that affect them. There are many able people within crofting communities from Shetland to Argyll and I hope to see many coming forward and running for the six positions on the board."

Background

The deadline for submitting changes to the Register of Crofts, which will be used to compile the crofting electoral role, is January 19 2012.

Voting is restricted to one vote per croft and to one vote per crofter: a multiple occupancy croft must nominate one voter, and a crofter with multiple crofts is only eligible for one vote.

Notice of the crofting elections was given by the Returning Officer for the election, Mr Alistair Dodds, Chief Executive of The Highland Council. The notice of the election has been published on The Highland Council's website at www.highland.gov.uk

The elections will be conducted using a postal ballot with ballot papers being issued on February 27 and the count taking place in Inverness at The Highland Council Headquarters on Friday March 16.

The deadline for returning candidate nomination papers and application papers for proxy and absent votes is Thursday January 26.

The new members are:

Susan Walker - has been an active crofter for three decades, producing much of the family food on a 2 acre croft in Camuscross, Isle of Skye. She is the co-author of 'The State of Crofting in Camuscross', an academic report on crofting in her local township of Camuscross, and writes articles for the press on crofting matters. She is a Director of Camuscross and Duisdale Initiative, an ambitious community trust that is working in partnership with crofters and grazings shareholders on local food and community infrastructure projects. Ms Walker holds no other current Ministerial public appointments.

William Swann - is a veterinary surgeon with extensive international experience in community development. He was brought up on a small moorland hill farm and kept native Manx Laughton sheep on an upland croft on the Isle of Man. He is passionate about the survival and future development of crofting and lives with his wife on Skye. He is also a respected oil painter and often includes crofting landscapes in his work. Mr Swann is a current board member of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, appointed until March 2014 with a remuneration of 10,065 per annum

Sandy Cross - is a qualified investment manager with a career background in financial services, including several posts at managerial level in private sector companies, and is author of numerous articles on finance. He is closely involved in the rural economy and currently divides his time between Edinburgh and Shetland, where he is involved in farming, shellfish farming and is the landlord of a 1,600 hectare crofting estate. He will bring governance experience to the board of the Crofting Commission and will represent the interests of landlords of crofts. Mr Cross holds no other current Ministerial public appointments.

For further information on the election and to check your details on the register of crofts, please contact the Crofting Commission on 01463 663 439 or elections[AT]crofterscommission.org.uk

For more information on the Crofting Reform Act, visit www.scotland.gov.uk/topics/farmingrural/rural/crofting-policy/Act

The Scottish Government provides financial support to crofters through the Croft House Grant Scheme, the Crofting Counties Agricultural Grant Scheme, and the Crofter Cattle Improvement Scheme.

 

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