The Crofting Commission has issued the 2015 Crofting Census. Crofters are legally obliged to complete and return the Crofting Census, which was issued for the first time last year, to the Crofting Commission before the end of the three month completion deadline on 31 March 2016.
Following the 2014 Crofting Census, over 9,000 changes were made to the Crofting Commission's Register of Crofts. This is the biggest single update of the Register in over 60 years.
Chief Executive of the Crofting Commission, Catriona Maclean, explains: "There was an exceptional return rate for the first ever Crofting Census, given that it is a legal requirement we hope that there will be an even higher rate of return for the second Crofting Census. The returns allow us to build a strong evidence base for the value of crofting and also ensure that the information held on our Register of Crofts is as accurate as possible. I would like to thank crofters for completing last year's Crofting Census.
"The Census helps to identify if a crofter is not fulfilling their duties. The Commission can work with those crofters in breach of their duties, providing guidance and assistance to help them solve their own non-compliance.
"Following last year's Crofting Census there have been a number of changes made. We have simplified the form further to make it even easier for crofters to complete. Owner-occupier crofters, who are still tenants of their grazings share, will also receive a Crofting Census form for that share. This is because the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 states that a stand-alone tenanted grazings share is "deemed" to be a croft. This means that to comply with legislation an annual Crofting Census must be completed and returned to the Commission for each grazings share and croft unit.
"The Census forms are quick and easy to complete. We have set up a dedicated helpline to support crofters in completing their Census forms and full details, including FAQs, can be found on our website."
Crofting Minister Aileen Macleod said: "The Crofting Census provides a snapshot of the current state of the sector. This is essential for ensuring the right policies and regulations are in place to secure a prosperous and sustainable future for crofting – something we all want to see.
"I welcome the action being taken by the Crofting Commission to make it even easier for crofters across the country to return their Crofting Census forms and meet their legal obligations. It is important that everyone who has been sent a Crofting Census completes and returns it ahead of the March deadline."
For further information visit www.crofting.scotland.gov.uk/croftingcensus