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NFU Scotland Tenants Give Evidence to MSPs on Scottish Crown Estate Bill

Members of NFU Scotland’s Crown Estate Tenants Working Group attended the Scottish Parliament to give evidence to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee in Scottish Parliament this week.

The Group, which is facilitated by NFUS and comprises two agricultural tenants from each of the four rural estates, used the evidence session on the Scottish Crown Estate Bill to reinforce its calls for the majority of the estate to be retained and managed at a national level. The Group has been engaging with Scottish Government since 2015, and has a regular audience with Scottish Government officials, Crown Estate staff and other interested stakeholders.

The Scottish Government’s Scottish Crown Estate Bill will introduce a framework for national management with powers to devolve individual assets to other managers such as local authorities and local communities on a case by case basis. The Bill follows the devolution of the Crown Estate to the Scottish Parliament following a review of the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

Legal and Technical Policy Manager Gemma Cooper, who also gave evidence at the session on behalf of NFU Scotland, commented: “Our Crown Estate tenant members are generally encouraged by the content of the Bill and it was important that the tenants were able to feed directly in to the political process that will establish the future management regime for the Scottish Crown Estate.

“During the session, it was emphasised that Crown Estate tenants feel strongly that national management is a sound way forward, and their experience of this so far has been generally positive. Their wish is for the new-look Scottish Crown Estate to be a showcase for Scotland, and one which provides them with a stable and secure environment in which to operate their farm businesses. They are extremely encouraged by the steps already taken by Crown Estate to engage with them, and their wish is to see this formalised in the new Crown Estate structures.

“The group does however remain concerned about the possible ability for powers over the rural estates to be devolved to local authorities, on the basis that they are unlikely to have the competence to manage assets such as farms. They are of the same mind in relation to community management. However, given the structures provided in the Bill and the recently published asset transfer pilot document, they have been given some level of comfort that any transfer must be based on solid business plans.”

Notes to editors


Ends

Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4108

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 42/18


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