What is Crown Estate Scotland?
Crown Estate Scotland is a public corporation, which invests in property, natural resources, and people to create lasting value for Scotland.
Our team manages seabed, coastline, rural estates and more, helping ensure families, businesses and communities can live, work, and thrive on the assets which make up the Scottish Crown Estate.
We are a self-funding body. We are not funded by Scottish Government. The money we use to run the business and invest is raised through the managing the Estate. Revenue profits are passed to Scottish Government (see Q2 below) for public spending. Our Annual Reports and Accounts are published here.
We are a separate entity from The Crown Estate, which operates in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
What makes up the Scottish Crown Estate?
The assets which make up the Scottish Crown Estate include:
Virtually all seabed out to 12 nautical miles
Just under half the foreshore
Four rural estates comprising 37,000 hectares of rural land
Rights to fish wild salmon and sea trout in in river and coastal areas
Rights to naturally occurring gold and silver across most of Scotland
A commercial retail and office property in central Edinburgh
The Zero-Four innovation park near Montrose
Technically these assets are owned by the Monarch ‘in right of the Crown’ (see Q3 below) but our revenue profit (sometimes called ‘net revenue’) goes to the Scottish Consolidated Fund and then to Scottish Government. It is the responsibility of Scottish Ministers to decide how the revenue profit is used.
Do you work for the King?
No. Our assets are held 'in right of The Crown'. This means that, while the Monarch is the legal owner, they are not the Monarch’s private property and cannot be sold by the Monarch, nor do revenues from the estate belong to the Monarch.
What is the relationship between Crown Estate Scotland and the Scottish Government?
As a public corporation we are accountable to Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament. We work closely with Scottish Government and our work contributes to the achievement of Scottish Government national outcomes.
What is Crown consent and how does it relate to the Scottish Crown Estate?
Crown consent is a process which requires Scottish Ministers to seek the consent of the Crown in relation to certain Bills. It does not involve Ministers directly asking Crown Estate Scotland for consent.
Although the Scottish Crown Estate is owned by the Monarch ‘in right of the Crown’, Crown Estate Scotland manages it on behalf of Scottish Ministers. The Monarch may ask Crown Estate Scotland to provide factual information on how proposed legislation is likely to affect the Estate. If that happens, Crown Estate Scotland will provide factual information only and will not provide comment.
How does Crown Estate Scotland earn income?
We primarily get our income from leases on the property that we manage, usually in the form of rent – just like renting a house or a car.
Tenants rent rural property, the seabed, foreshore, urban property, and certain mineral and fishing rights. Information on income and property value can be found in our annual reports - see the downloads section.
Does Crown Estate Scotland have to make a profit?
We have a duty to maintain and seek to enhance the revenue and the value of the assets we manage. The Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019 provides that we must act in a way that is likely to further sustainable development in Scotland and to contribute to the promotion or the improvement of economic development, regeneration, social wellbeing, and economic wellbeing.
Can Crown Estate Scotland buy and sell property?
Yes, we sell properties when appropriate to be able to buy, invest, and develop. Capital from sales is reinvested in new opportunities to strengthen the value and revenue earnings of the Estate, while maintaining adequate reserves.
Will the management of Crown Estate assets in Scotland be devolved locally?
The Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019 makes provision for some assets to be managed by certain types of local bodies including local authorities and community organisations.
We are currently running a pilot scheme to test options for how this could work in practice. You can read more the current progress of the scheme here.
Information about Scottish Government’s Transfers & Delegations process which enables eligible bodies to take on management of specific Scottish Crown Estate assets is here.
Does Crown Estate Scotland manage 'unclaimed land'?
No. Land can sometimes effectively become ownerless. When this happens, title to the land may, in certain circumstances, revert to the Crown, but in Scotland this is administered by The King’s and Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer.
Do whale carcasses beached on the foreshore in Scotland belong to Crown Estate Scotland?
No. Responsibility for Royal fish less than 25 feet in length rests with the local authority, who may arrange for them to be removed and disposed of.
For whale carcasses more than 25 feet in length, the local coastguard should notify the Scottish Government's Marine Scotland Directorate. They should also inform Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) who record 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 to report stranding of a dead whale - call 01463 243030, tweet @strandings together with animal and location or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Living whales should be reported to the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999 or British Divers Marine Life Rescue on 01825 765546
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.
Our most recent statement on recreational gold panning provides more information.