The Crown Estate has announced two pilot projects for a programme that will enable local councils, harbour bodies and community organisations to manage areas of foreshore and seabed.
The Portree Moorings Association on Skye and Comann na Mara (The Society of the Sea:North Uist) at Lochmaddy on North Uist, will be the first pilot projects to test Local Management Agreements, which are designed to give local communities more control over their coastline.
The Local Management Agreement gives the applicant time to develop proposals on an exclusive basis, with the help of expertise and advice from The Crown Estate.
On the basis of these proposals, they may then apply to obtain the right to manage the land for the longer term on a commercial basis.
The changes follow the inquiry into The Crown Estate by Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee, as well as discussions in the Scottish Parliament’s Scotland Bill Committee. The UK Government is due to respond to the Scottish Affairs Committee report shortly.
Commenting on the news, The Crown Estate’s Scottish Commissioner Gareth Baird said: “This innovative measure to enable not for profit bodies to take management control of the foreshore helps to give communities more control over coastal assets within our existing powers.”
One of the main issues raised in the Scottish Affairs Committee’s report was the need to give communities more control over coastal assets.
Gus Macaulay, Chair of Comann na Mara, said: “From day one, the coastal team at The Crown Estate has provided excellent support. Crucially, they helped us build a comprehensive development plan – and then helped us progress implementing it.
“Though there is a wealth of maritime knowledge at Comann na Mara, the creation of a pontoon development and the complexities of civil engineering and maritime legislation required specialist guidance. That vital input came through our ongoing partnership with The Crown Estate. We are now at the crucial funding stage but I have every confidence that in our continuing partnership we will succeed.”