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What is Crown Estate Scotland?

Crown Estate Scotland manages land and property owned by the Monarch in right of the Crown. We ensure that the assets are developed and enjoyed to deliver long-term value for communities and for the nation.

The business was set up following the Scotland Act 2016 and in Scotland replaces The Crown Estate, paying all revenue profit to the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

Crown Estate Scotland is a public corporation tasked with managing the assets on an interim basis until new legislation sets out permanent arrangements. The Scottish Government expects this new legislation to be in place by the end of 2019. Crown Estate Scotland’s legal name is Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) and it is led and managed by an independent Board supported by a staff team.

Who gets the income from the assets?

All revenue ‘profit’ from Crown Estate Scotland goes to the Scottish Consolidated Fund and it is the responsibility of Scottish Ministers to decide how this is used. Crown Estate Scotland ensures that the assets are developed and enjoyed to deliver long-term value for communities and for the nation.

Who owns the assets of Crown Estate Scotland? Do they still belong to the Queen or the Royal Family?

Assets are held 'in right of The Crown' and the Monarch remains the legal owner but it is not the private property of the Monarch. It cannot be sold by the Monarch, nor do revenues from it belong to the Monarch. Surplus revenue (i.e. revenue profit) is paid from Crown Estate Scotland to the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

Is Crown Estate Scotland connected to the Sovereign Grant?

No. The Sovereign Grant arrangements are not related to the management of Crown Estate Scotland. The grant arrangements provide a mechanism that is used by the Her Majesty’s Treasury (UK Government) to determine the amount of UK Government funding for the Monarch.

The revenue profit of The Crown Estate (which operates in Wales, England and Northern Ireland) is used as a reference point to calculate the amount of the Sovereign Grant (this does not take into account Crown Estate Scotland’s revenue profit, the two are different and distinct businesses). This sum is then paid by the Treasury out of funds raised by general taxation; the Sovereign Grant is not paid directly from The Crown Estate.

Does Crown Estate Scotland have to make a profit?

Crown Estate Scotland must meet the requirements of the Crown Estate Act 1961. This states that the Board has a duty to maintain and enhance the value of the estate and the return obtained from it, but with due regard to the ‘requirements of good management’.

Does Crown Estate Scotland manage 'unclaimed land'?

Land can sometimes effectively become ownerless. When this happens, title to the land may, in certain circumstances, revert to the Crown. Ownerless land in Scotland is administered by The Queen's and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer with revenues passing to the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

Do whale carcasses beached on the foreshore in Scotland belong to Crown Estate Scotland?

Whales along with other species are known as 'Royal fish' and, when beached, theoretically The Queen can claim ownership. In practice however beached whales are dealt with locally.

Responsibility for Royal fish less than 25 feet in length rests with the local authority, who may wish to arrange for their disposal.

For whale carcasses over 25 feet in length, the local coastguard should notify the Scottish Government's Marine Scotland Directorate. They should also inform the SRUC's Veterinary Section who record all cetacean strandings around Scotland and who may wish to undertake a post-mortem.

Scottish Government has produced guidance on how to respond to the stranding of a Royal fish.

Marine Scotland contact details to report Royal fish:

01224 295 579 (office hours)
07770 733 423 (outside office hours)

Contact SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) to report stranding of a dead whale:

01463 243030
Tweet @strandings together with animal and location
Fill in a stranding report here

Living whales should be reported to the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999 or British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546.

Contact us

For further information please contact or visit our Contact us page to find a member of our team to help you.

How do I get permission for gold panning?

Crown Estate Scotland manages the rights to gold and silver across most of Scotland. Because of the damage that gold panning causes, we do not grant permission for people to remove any gold.

It is an offence to remove gold found by recreational panning without permission from both the owner of the rights (e.g. Crown Estate Scotland) and the owner of the land (to gain access to the stream or river).

We understand that this policy may disappoint some. However, our intention is to help preserve the aquatic environments which are susceptible to damage.

To understand more about the damage that gold panning can cause, please follow the link below. Breaches of environmental and other legislation may result in prosecution or other action.

For the Scottish Natural Heritage Position on gold panning - see here.