Highlands & Islands

Community buyout of Raasay suggested

Raasay
Image caption The Scottish government owns crofting land and the rights to shooting and fishing on Raasay

The residents of Raasay are to be consulted on whether they would want to take over the running of the island.

The Scottish government has suggested a community buyout as one of three options to resolve the future of how the isle's sporting rights are managed.

Another option is to offer the islanders the lease to the rights for up to 175 years.

The third is to put the lease out to tender but with conditions that ensure it still benefits islanders.

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse said Raasay Crofters' Association has been given the lease until 1 March to allow time for the consultation to happen.

Out to tender

The Scottish government owns crofting land and the rights to shooting deer and fishing trout on Raasay.

Raasay Crofters' Association has managed the rights for 18 years, after a public agency gave them up, and it had expected to continue to do so when the lease was put out for tender.

However, government officials awarded the lease to South Ayrshire Stalking after it submitted the highest bid.

The crofters' association went on to accuse the government of acting like an absentee landlord.

Following a public and political row, South Ayrshire Stalking gave up its claim to the lease and Raasay Crofters' Association was awarded an extension.

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