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01/11/13 11:25

New Crofting Commissioner appointed

Marina Dennis appointed for East Highlands Crofting Constituency.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, today announced the appointment of Marina Theresa Dennis as a member of the Crofting Commission to represent the East Highlands crofting constituency. The appointment will run from 1 November 2013 to 31 March 2017.

In making the appointment, Mr Wheelhouse said:

“I am delighted that Marina has accepted the opportunity to act as a member of the Crofting Commission. Her previous experience with the Crofters Commission and as a Crofting Assessor will be invaluable in delivering the Scottish Government’s crofting policies and ensuring the Commission is an effective regulator.

"I am sure Marina will rise to the challenge of being a Crofting Commissioner and wish her every success in her new role.”

Marina lives and works on a family croft in Strathspey and has been associated with crofting all her life - serving as a Director of the Scottish Crofting Foundation and also representing crofting interests on the board of Governors of the MacAulay Land Use Research Institute and on the north board of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. She was appointed to the board of the Crofters Commission between 1996 and 2005, and has been a Crofting Commission Assessor for over 30 years. She was also a freelance journalist at the BBC in Inverness for 15 years and a member of the Appeals Panel on EU Subsidies for the Dept. of Agriculture between 2005 and 2012. Marina is currently a member of the independent panel of the Lay Complaints Team for NHS Highland, and a Trustee/Director of the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI).

The appointment is part-time and attracts annual remuneration of £8,453.70 for a time commitment of four and a half days per month.
The Crofting Commission took over the functions of regulating, reorganising and promoting crofting on 1 April 2012, in line with amendments made to the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 by the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010. The Crofting Commission contains a mixture of appointed and directly elected members, making it more transparent, democratic and accountable. There is also a statutory requirement for at least one of the members to be able to speak the Gaelic language and for at least one to appear to Ministers to represent the interests of landlords of crofts.

The Ministerial appointment of Marina Dennis has been made to ensure the representation of the interests of crofters in the East Highlands crofting constituency following the resignation of the first elected member for that crofting constituency, Mr Donnie Ross. Ms Dennis also participated in the election for that crofting commission, recording second place by a small margin. The Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland was consulted on the appointment and has considered that the appointment of the second placed electoral candidate is appropriate in these circumstances.