A draft Crofting Reform Bill was published on 21 March 2005.  The Bill de-regulates crafting to some extent, by reducing the need to go through the Crofting Commission whenever control of a croft changes, and enabling transfers to take place between unmarried partners, whether or not of the same gender.  The power of landlords over crofts is also reduced, by requiring them to object to crofters’ proposed actions rather than being able to block by simply doing nothing.  Crofters will be enabled to sub-let and to diversify into non-agricultural use (such as wind-farms).  The creation of new crofts will be encouraged by enabling new crofters to waive their right to buy the croft.  But the crofting counties – currently Argyll, Inverness, Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Orkney and Shetland – are not to be extended.  The draft is available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations/rural/dcrsb-00.asp.