Control of multi-million pound assets will benefit local communities.
Powers over the revenue and management of Crown Estate resources in Scotland have been transferred to the Scottish Government, giving communities a stronger voice in how these assets are managed.
From April 1, Scottish Ministers will have control over thousands of hectares of rural land, approximately half Scotland’s foreshore and leasing the seabed for rights to renewable energy.
New body Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) will ensure continuity, while ministers finalise a long term strategy that will include opportunities to place local communities at the heart of the new arrangements for managing assets, which in total were worth £271.8 million in 2015/16 and generated a gross annual revenue of £14 million.
Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:
“This is a historic day. 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.
“From today, decisions about both the day-to-day management and the future of the estate will be taken in Scotland. This 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. They stand to benefit from the further changes to come, including opportunities for devolved local management of assets.
“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 it remains in good order as we continue to develop our long term plans.”
Ms Cunningham is pictured with farmers Hew and Jane Hunter, who are tenant farmers on the Crown Estate.
The Scottish Government is taking a phased approach on devolution of the management of the Crown Estate. Crown Estate: A Consultation on the Long Term Management of the Crown Estate in Scotland launched in January and closed on March 29.
The Scotland Act 2016 included powers to devolve management of Crown assets to Scotland through secondary legislation at Westminster. The secondary legislation was approved on 23 March 2017. The Crown Estate in Scotland includes a diverse portfolio of property, rights and interests that influence many aspects of rural and coastal life in Scotland.
Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) is being established as a Public Corporation. It will take on its asset management role from 1 April 2017.
The Scottish Government is working to safeguard a smooth transfer for staff and ensure that the interim body provides stability and continuity of service to those who rely on existing Crown Estate leases or services as the management responsibilities are devolved to Scotland, particularly during the time needed for establishing a new permanent framework.
Scotland will continue to fund a share of the Sovereign Grant through general taxes following devolution of the management of, and revenue from, Crown Estate assets in Scotland – as it does at present. The source of funds for the Monarch come from general taxation, not directly from the Crown Estate Commissioners and Scotland contributes to tax revenues.