Lease for sporting rights on Raasay returned to the island's crofters

The move was announced by Alex Salmond at First Minister's Questions.

Raasay Hall: The multi-use community hall has amazing views of the Isle of Skye.
© John Allan

The lease for sporting rights on Raasay has been returned to the island's crofters for the current season and ministers will be involved in future decisions.

The move, which was announced by Alex Salmond at Thursday's First Minister's Questions, follows the withdrawal, by mutual consent, of the new leaseholder.

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse confirmed that the contract, which had been awarded to South Ayrshire Stalking following a competitive tender, had been withdrawn.

The previous lease, which had been held by the island's crofting community, will be extended by a year to enable the community to be consulted on longer term options for the lease.

Mr Wheelhouse said: "It's regrettable that the original decision to award the sporting rights contract was made without ministerial involvement.

"Raasay is a fragile island community and ministers recognise the sporting rights are very important to the islanders. I share the concerns expressed locally about the way in which the contract was awarded and will ensure, as I have indicated previously that in future, appropriate ministerial consideration is given when such decisions are being made.

"That is why I have taken steps to resolve the situation and I hope the Raasay islanders will be content with this solution. Effectively this will extend the islanders' existing lease by a year and will allow us to work with crofters and the wider community to find a satisfactory long-term solution."

Anne Gillies of the Raasay Crofters Association said: "I was delighted to speak to the minister this morning when he informed me of his decision which we strongly welcome. It is important to us that these sporting rights remain in local control and we look forward to meeting the minister to discuss community management of the sporting rights on Raasay."

The lease for Raasay Shooting and Fishing Rights was put out to tender after the existing lease expired in November 2012. Five offers were considered and the highest offer from South Ayrshire Stalking was accepted.

South Ayrshire Stalking will receive £9000 costs towards expenses already incurred.

The Free Church of Scotland took an "unprecedented step" by writing to MSPs to urge a rethink on who managed sporting rights on Raasay.

In their letter to MSPs, the ministers said the crofters' association was outbid by £2000 and the decision on who should hold the lease was made by unelected government officials.

The ministers argued that the progress in developing the sporting rights in Raasay to the benefit of the crofters and the community had outstripped the £2000 which was at stake.

Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat MP for Ross, Skye, and Lochaber, called on the Scottish Government to match the amount paid in compensation.

He said: "I welcome the fact that this ministerial midden has at last been acknowledged and that the sporting rights are now firmly back where they belong - in the hands of the local crofting community.

"Now it is imperative that the situation well beyond one year hence is clarified to enable long-term planning and development.

"And the £9000 paid out in compensation should at least be matched as a contribution directly from the Scottish government to the Raasay crofters."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.