A former government minister has called for new legislation to give crofting communities the same rights as landowners to develop green energy projects on croft land.
Calum MacDonald, the former MP for the Western Isles and Scottish Office minister, said at present only landowners have the legal right to develop hydro or wind energy projects, even on common grazings.
Mr MacDonald, author of the Crofter Forestry Act in 1991 which gave crofting communities a similar right to develop forestry schemes, said the reform would revolutionise the development of renewables in the Highland and Islands and put communities in the driving seat of a key industry.
He said the move would allow grazings committees to apply to the Crofters Commission to develop a renewables project on their common grazings.
He said: “Under the current law, only a landowner can initiate renewables projects on crofter grazings, even when that land has been worked by a crofting township for countless generations.
“This is a ridiculous Victorian arrangement which is completely out of step with modern Scotland.”
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