A group of tenant farmers has called for the Crown Estate to be retained as one entity.
The plea was made by NFU Scotland’s (NFUS) Crown Estate tenants working group, which comprises tenants from the body’s four Scottish estates – Glenlivet, Fochabers, Applegirth and Whitehills.
This follows powers over the management of Crown Estate resources in Scotland being taken over by Scottish Government ministers at the start of this month.
NFUS said Crown Estate land represented a significant portion of the secure tenanted sector in Scotland, with the four estates playing host to 117 secure 1991 Act tenancies in total.
In response to a Crown Estate consultation, the group said it was opposed to proposed ‘rebalancing’ plans which would see parts of the estate sold off.
The group also called for the Crown Estate management to be overseen by a centrally managed main board, with help from advisory sub groups including an agricultural sub group comprising tenant farmers.
NFUS president, Andrew McCornick, said: “Our tenants have told us they are happy with how things are at the moment, and do not have an appetite for substantial change. They feel strongly that the estate functions well due to the size and complexity of the assets contained within the portfolio, and see this as a real opportunity to make the Crown Estate a showcase for rural Scotland.
“The tenanted farms, which have a value of £98million, comprise the largest portion of the total estate asset. These farms play a vital role in underpinning the rest of the portfolio, and provide much wider socioeconomic benefits to many rural communities, and many of the farming families that live on these estates have done so for generations.”
He said the union had written to Cabinet Secretaries Roseanna Cunningham and Fergus Ewing on the issue.
“I hope they will be able to meet with the tenants in due course to discuss their concerns and aspirations in more detail,” added Mr McCornick.