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Gareth Baird of The Crown Estate Opinion

Reflections on The Crown Estate in Scotland

Gareth Baird

Gareth Baird

Over the last eight years, there have been so many achievements I have been lucky to witness as Scottish Commissioner for The Crown Estate. Many of these are due to the energy and commitment of the staff team - and it is encouraging that both politicians and partners have recently highlighted the need to retain their expertise.

In only a few years I have seen offshore renewables grow to become one of the major strands of Scotland’s energy strategy. I have seen the diversification of the rural estates, supporting local regeneration through activities such as walking and mountain biking. And I have seen the impressive growth in facilities to support marine tourism through local partnerships with coastal communities.

I am proud that The Crown Estate contributed to these achievements. This success has often been down to the way we worked with partners and our day-to-day relationships with tenants, customers, local communities and government, both local and national. At a Scotland-wide level, we set up a liaison group to improve co-operation with partners across aquaculture, offshore renewables and agriculture. At an industry level, we co-operated on research to support the sustainable development of aquaculture and marine tourism.  And locally, we developed successful partnerships with communities enabling them, for example, to take over the management of parts of the coastline for local benefit.

It has been rewarding for me to see how the expertise of staff combined with carefully targeted investment contributed to these collaborations.  In this way we helped build confidence in the potential of offshore renewables, smoothing the path for investors and developers. The same is true of our work with many coastal communities and on the rural estates, where we have invested time and resources for long term benefit.

I would particularly like to acknowledge the role of The Crown Estate’s board, which continued to support our work in Scotland throughout this period of change. The leadership of Chief Executive Alison Nimmo was especially important and I would also like to thank Ronnie Quinn for his tireless work in helping to ensure a smooth transition to the new body.

With the appointment of Amanda Bryan as Chair of the interim body Crown Estate Scotland, I am confident that the new organisation will be well placed to build on the legacy of expertise and goodwill.