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Crown Estate control passes to Scottish Government

Words: Laura Edgar
Crown Estate Scotland

Revenue and management powers of the Crown Estate resources in Scotland have been transferred to the Scottish Government.

Scottish ministers gained control over thousands of hectares of rural land and approximately half of Scotland’s foreshore on 1 April, and can also now lease the seabed for rights to renewable energy.

Crown Estate Scotland, a new body under interim management, aims to ensure continuity while ministers finalise a long-term strategy that is expected to include opportunities to place local communities at the heart of the new arrangements for managing assets, according to the Scottish Government.

In January 2017, the Scottish Government started a consultation on the long-term framework for the devolved management of the Crown Estate in Scotland. In the consultation paper, it stressed that management of seabed rights out to 200 nautical miles around the country is “vitally important to being able to sustain the competitiveness” of the country’s marine industries and to continue to derive wealth from its marine environment.

The consultation closed on 29 March.

The Scotland Act 2016 includes powers to devolved Crown assets management to Scotland through secondary legislation at Westminster, which was approved on 23 March.

Land reform secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “The management and resources of the Crown Estate now rest with the people of Scotland and we have a genuine, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use them to change the fabric of Scottish society, placing the needs of local and coastal communities at the centre of our long-term planning for these considerable assets.”

Decisions about both the day-to-day management and the future of the estate will now be taken in Scotland which, Cunningham said, “will have positive implications, not only for the many people who live, work or have some other direct connection with the Crown Estate, but for many communities across Scotland”.

“I, along with the staff of the new interim management body, will seek to manage the estate responsibly, delivering benefits to our partners, tenants and communities and ensuring that it remains in good order as we continue to develop our long-term plans.”

Image credit | iStock