12 March 2021

New framework agreed to support longer term use of Crown Estate Scotland funding

A new framework focusing on the longer term future use of Crown Estate Scotland funding has been agreed by councillors.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee yesterday (Thurs, March 11) endorsed criteria which will see 50% of Crown Estate Scotland allocations shared equally between the four coastal administrative areas of Banff and Buchan, Buchan, Formartine and Kincardine and Mearns.

The remaining half of future monies will be allocated to the Aberdeenshire Coastal Communities Challenge Fund which was created last year.

Crown Estate Scotland generates income from marine assets including aquaculture, offshore renewables, moorings and other coastal income.

The council receives a proportion of this income annually to be used for coastal benefit such as support for local projects or initiatives and, while the level of funding varies by year, an average of £385,000 has been received to-date.

Funding has been awarded to a wide range of projects across Aberdeenshire’s coastal communities including new sailing club equipment, picnic benches and landscaping improvements at country parks, harbour improvements and a host of heritage initiatives.

As part of the council’s development of a future policy for the use of these monies from 2021 onwards, feedback was sought from area committees, communities, businesses and other stakeholders on priorities for this funding.

Under the new framework, the council’s four coastal area committees will identify specific projects or initiatives which they wish to see taken forward and determine how monies are spent.

Projects receiving Coastal Communities Challenge Fund grants will be processed via the existing approach overseen by the North East Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group (NESFLAG). The partnership will make recommendations for project approvals to Aberdeenshire Council, with awards being made following appropriate consultation with
elected members.

Projects applying for funding must have a tangible link to the coast and/or the sea, however there is a degree of flexibility to support initiatives up to two miles outside of the immediate coastal area.

In light of the impact the Covid pandemic has had on several existing projects, councillors also agreed to extend the deadline to commit and spend any unspent funds from
the second Crown Estate allocation to March 31, 2022.

Welcoming the future framework, ISC chair Cllr Peter Argyle said: “Crown Estate Scotland funding has already become a very important source of financial support for a host of community projects here in Aberdeenshire.

“Looking ahead, our long-term pro-active approach to allocating this funding will enable our coastal area committees and their communities to take real ownership of new projects which will have massive benefits for all.

Vice-chair Cllr John Cox added: “One of the key themes which emerged from the engagement process was a requirement for clear criteria to be available for applicants at an early stage to ensure it is clear what the funding can and cannot be used for.

“I am delighted that we can provide groups both with this information and support towards projects, and would encourage more of our residents and groups to get their heads together and bid for this funding which will make such a dramatic improvement to their coastal communities.”