We delivered a large scale advisory project for crofters on the Western Isles, which included the provision of 35 management plans and the submission of 20 SRDP applications for crofters in corncrake Special Protection Areas on Lewis and Barra.

 

Corncrake are a nationally threatened species and they underwent a massive decline in breeding populations during the 20th Century. The SRDP options for corncrake were devised to encourage crofters to adapt their land management to use methods more favourable to breeding corncrake. These measures include provision of early and late vegetation cover, late cutting of hay and controlled grazing.

Uptake of these schemes within crofting communities is variable and SNH decided that the costs of devising and submitting schemes needed to be met in order to encourage more crofters to take advantage of the payments available. On small crofts, these payments would not cover the cost of professional advice to develop a scheme and the rules were sufficiently complex to require professional help in most cases.

Since completing the contract we have continued to support some of the crofters on a pro-bono basis to ensure that they are able to meet the requirements of the scheme and to make sure that the proposed benefits of the schemes are realised.

Client: Scottish Natural Heritage