Map shows land owned by Scottish Ministers (purple = agricultural estates, green = national forest estate & red = Scottish Natural Heritage)

Today, the Scottish Government announced that the rights to hunt deer on the Island of Raasay would be granted to the Raasay Crofters’ Association for a period of five years with an option to renew automatically so long as the terms of the lease are met. This follows the decision by Scottish Ministers in February 2013 to award the lease to a commercial company from South Ayrshire. Previous blogs here, here, here and here relate the story.

The decision follows a consultation with residents of Raasay, the results of which are also published today.

BBC online report here.

 

29 Comments

  1. ? land management?

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  2. Amazing. The good guys won this one. Hurrah!!!

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  3. At last, proper lease terms with automatic renewal.
    Now give that to all ag tenants.

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  4. Good to see some positive progress!

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  5. What rent are RCA paying? Is it what they bid at the tender or have they had to up it to match what South Ayrshire Stalking bid? Or more or less than either of these? And more to the point, has the Scottish Government established a new policy to apply whatever policy they’ve now adopted here across the board in future? Or are they still making it up on the hoof and using tax-payers’ money to bail them out whenever they realise the political wind happens to have wafted against them? You wonder if the same sort of thing is going on in situations where the sums of money actually make a difference.

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    • Graham EnnisNeil, it is. I am battling the Forestry commission at the moment, to lease a farm from them that is derelict. they are trying to sell the house off to a property developer, for what they can get, and use the laand as leased rough grazing until

      The forestry commission do the same, with properties they own. always sold off to the higghest bidder, the land detached and tree planted, another farm exterminated. They simply do not care.
      Graham Ennis.

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  6. Neil, They should not have to match south ayrshire stalkings bid, because that was based on the crofters own improvements.
    The crofters should be the ones to benefit from their own improvements to the stalking, not the state, or any other landlord.
    The non observance of this basic human right is the reason for much of the dilapidation and poverty clearly visible in most rural parts of scotland.

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  7. I didn’t know the RCA had made improvements – what were they?

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  8. Perhaps the Crofters’ original lease was such that they were bound to carry out improvements and/ or it was at a peppercorn rent. What were the improvements they carried out? It is important to have all the information on hand.
    Does the Scottish Govt have a policy now about the similar leases or is this just a “one off” because of bad press etc?

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  9. Anne, there were originally two leases, both in 1981 to the then HIDB, one of the shooting rights at £90pa and another of the fishing rights at £25pa. The RCA was paying latterly £650pa for (as I understand it) the two leases together.

    Both leases contain an identical clause “The Tenant shall be entitled to improve the shootings [fishings] but will not be entitled at the termination of this Lease to receive compensation for any improvements so made.”

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  10. thanks. That is an entirely normal clause to have in a lease of this type so it would assumed that the RCA knew that was the terms of their lease.
    What would be interesting to know is 1) the improvements carried out; 2) the terms of the new lease; and 3)what exactly is Scottish Govt. policy for this type of the lease !

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  11. Yes its an entirely normal lease in scotland. Landlord robbery..
    There is no other word to describe it.

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  12. hector, perhaps..the amount of rent will be based on the terms of the lease so will be lower if the improvements are carried out by the tenants & if the lease subjects are basically unimproved at the commencement of the lease. Perhaps you could advise what the “many & varied” improvements are!

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  13. Perhaps perhaps not.
    The rent paid is for the subjects as they stand.
    Improvements should belong to the tenant, unless the landlord can prove he carried them out.
    If you want to know what was done on raasay, i suggest you read the various articles.

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    • The terms of the lease which state that no compensation will be payable at the end are hardly an incentive for improvement are they?
      No wonder dilapidation rules in scotland.

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  14. exactly the rent is “for the subjects as they stand”.Tenant’s improvements in such a lease are disragrded come rent review so the tenant does not get such a bad deal.This is normal in other jurisdictions not just Scotland. I have read the articles but nowhere is there information about the improvements so perhaps you could advise us what they are?

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  15. They’re not but it would be interesting to know (a) what the improvements were; and (b) why RCA went ahead and carried them out anyway in the knowledge they weren’t going to get any compo for them?

    hector, you seem resolutely opposed to telling us what the many and varied improvements were – can you at least provide some links to the various articles which tell us? Thanks.

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  16. Why not do your own legwork?

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    • Keep your powder dry Hector. There’s only one place we need to give all our evidence to, and that’s not the Azores.

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  17. hector, very helpful your comments lead to informed debate..what axe are you grinding!

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  18. That is quite typical of lawyers to pass comment on a subject they know nothing about.
    You obviously have not the various articles about RCA.

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  19. By googling, I found reference to an article in the WHFP which spoke of RCA having put up deer fences.

    So that’s an improvement the RCA won’t be getting any compensation for. (Although I wonder if they’ve stipulated for compo for these fences in the new lease – they probably should ask as I suspect the SG would roll over and give them anything they want in the current climate!)

    Does anyone else know of any other improvements carried out by the RCA and/or of any online resources etc. where we could learn more about this?

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  20. I should have added a link to the WHFP article I mentioned. It’s:-

    http://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/happy-hens/

    That’s not a link directly to the WHFP (I couldn’t find that) but to a blog by a guy who lives on Raasay and if you scroll down, you’ll see he quotes the WHFP article.

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  21. This story illustrates in a nutshell how tenants farmers are treated, and why many farms are way below their potential in scotland, as anyone who improves a lairds property is clearly bonkers.

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  22. The Raasay Crofters Association are not tenant farmers hector. Tenant farmers are statutorily entitled to compensation for improvements.

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    • You are a comedian neil!!!
      Yes, tenant farmers can claim compensation for improvements if they can drink a pint while doing a handstand while singing the welsh national anthem backwards.
      The tenant who improves his farm will find himself evicted because someone else fancies it.
      Best let the rushes grow, the dykes fall and the roofs cave in, then no one will want your farm.

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  23. Margaret Gardiner

    Crofter get the rights: Good news, surely.

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