Highlands & Islands

Crofting commissioner resigns in Lewis grazings row

Ewe and lamb Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Two committees managing land shared by crofters were dismissed by the Crofting Commission earlier this year

A crofting commissioner has resigned in a dispute about the running of two common grazings on Lewis.

William Swann quit as a member of the Crofting Commission last week.

BBC Alba has since learned that he had told crofters he would resign if he felt the commission was not dealing with their case in a fair manner.

The commission has been in dispute with the crofters in Mangersta and Upper Coll about how they manage their common grazings committees.

The commission dismissed both committees, whose members are crofters, earlier this year and appointed officials to run the grazings, which are shared areas of land for raising livestock.

Western Isles Council - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - and commission chiefs have met to discuss the matter.

MSP Rhoda Grant has tabled a question in the Scottish Parliament asking the Scottish government if it would establish an inquiry into the Crofting Commission handling of the situation.

Catriona MacLean, of the Crofting Commission, said normally such issues were resolved "quietly" and not in the public domain.

She said the meeting with the comhairle had involved discussion on a "range of topics" and had allowed the commission to "explain a lot of things".

Ms MacLean said she could not comment on Mr Swann's resignation, but said the commission was working effectively and within the law.

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