First Crofting Commission election results are announced

16 March 2012

The results of the first elections to the new Crofting Commission have been announced.  The count took place at the Town House in Inverness earlier today.
Ballot papers were issued on the 24th February. Each croft was entitled to one vote, with crofters of multiple crofts having only one vote. When the croft was occupied by more than one person, it was necessary to nominate one person to vote.
The six elected Commissioners represent 6 areas across the Highlands and Islands; Shetland, Orkney (which was uncontested), East Highlands, West Highlands, Western Isles, and South West Highlands.
Shetland constituency was first to be announced, with Kathleen Anne Sinclair being elected. Donnie Ross has been elected for East Highland, Murdo MacLennan for Western Isles, I.G. Macdonald for West Highlands and Colin Niall Kennedy for South West Highlands. Orkney was uncontested and Arnold David Pirie was elected.
As of the 1st April, the Crofters Commission will become the Crofting Commission. The six elected Commissioners will be joined by three who were appointed by the Scottish Ministers; Susan Walker, a crofter on Skye, William Swann, a vet, also resident on Skye and Sandy Cross, a crofting landlord from Shetland. The new Commissioners will devote four days per month to Commission duties. They will perform an important function by deciding on applications from crofters, developing and implementing policy and working with senior Commission staff towards safeguarding the future of crofting. The role is perhaps more important now than ever, following the implementation of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 and the new Commissioners, whose terms lasts for five years, will be tasked with ensuring the Act is adhered  to.
The very existence of the six elected Commissioners is itself a result of the 2010 Act, which as well as attempting to tackle issues like absenteeism and speculation on croft land, made provisions for a more democratic Commission where Crofters themselves would be involved in decision making that affects their fellow crofters.
Further information on the result can be found at the Highland Council website.


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