21/Aug/2014 - Last News Update: 18:04

Crown Estate announces reforms

Category: Scotland

Published: 10th Jul 2012 14:30:35

The Crown Estate, which controls half of Scotland's coast and almost all of its seabed, has announced it is giving away some fishing rights and releasing land in Edinburgh.

The move follows a strongly critical report from the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster.

The body will transfer the right to fish for wild oysters and mussels in Scotland to "suitable bodies".

It will also give up control of West Princes Street Gardens in the capital.

The select committee reported in March that the Crown Estate lacked accountability and transparency, and that its powers should be devolved to local communities.

The Crown Estate, which owns the rights to the sites of fish farms, renewable energy developments, ports and marinas, said it was changing its operations in Scotland as part of an overhaul of its approach to property management.

The body also stressed the degree to which its Scottish assets will be run from its Edinburgh headquarters.

We are serious about changing the way we do business in Scotland ”

It is to formalise the role of the Scottish Commissioner, who will chair a newly-established Scottish management board and take a lead role across all activities in Scotland.

In addition, two new senior operational roles with Scotland-wide responsibility have been created to lead operations in Scotland from Edinburgh.

The Crown Estate's Scottish Commissioner, Gareth Baird, said: "We are serious about changing the way we do business in Scotland and the reforms we are announcing today acknowledge that we could have been more responsive to local communities in the past.

"They will ensure that in addition to delivering new inward investment, business and job opportunities in Scotland, our energy, rural and coastal businesses will be able to respond more effectively to the Scottish communities in which they operate."

The Crown Estate is owned by the Queen and managed by an independent board known as the Crown Estate Commissioners.

The estate's revenues do not belong to the monarch and surplus revenue from its £7bn-worth of business is paid each year to the Treasury for the benefit of all UK taxpayers.

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