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Young people on the Whitehill Estate

Children have their say on future of Scotland’s land, coast and seabed

Research into children and young people’s ambitions for land, coastline and seabed management shows the environment, climate change and local communities as key themes.

The study by the charity Children in Scotland, the national network working to improve children’s lives, was carried out to ensure that the voices of children and young people are reflected in Crown Estate Scotland’s plan for 2020-23.

As the manager of rural estates, the seabed and just under half of the foreshore, Crown Estate Scotland wanted to harness the views of children and young people to inform its activity, including a £70m investment strategy.

Three in-depth classroom sessions were held with young people of varying ages, alongside a nationwide online survey. In total, the study reached over 100 children across 18 local authority areas. This produced a wealth of views from those who took part on subjects including animal welfare, environmental protection, tourism, jobs, and coastal community development.

A full summary of the recommendations can be found in the report here, with these including:

  • Ongoing and regular consultation with children and young people should continue as a process to ensure that they have opportunities to engage
  • Crown Estate Scotland should continue to take a rights-based approach to their work
  • Crown Estate Scotland should work with The Scottish Government to help secure continued funding for a sustainable future, especially for the farming and fishing sectors

Annie Breaden, Head of Policy for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “Younger generations will be the ones most affected by our work from generating clean energy to how we grow food to how we tackle climate change. It’s vital that they are given the chance to inform our activity.

“Specific suggestions we will be implementing are keeping up our range of educational projects, continuing to help children access rural and coastal Scotland, and looking at how we can continue to help them shape our work.”

Jane Miller, Policy and Participation Officer for Children in Scotland, said: “Through this work children and young people highlighted their concerns and worries about damage to the environment and the impact that this has on how they were feeling. Children highlighted that they felt better when they were empowered to take action on this issue.

“As a result we are pleased that children and young people were able to share their views and inform the direction of Crown Estate Scotland’s work and plan for 2020-2023.”