Coastal communities across the north and north-east will benefit from millions of pounds in funding to enhance their local areas.
The cash, which comes as part of a £7.5 million windfall being shared nationwide, has been generated from the Scottish Crown Estate’s marine assets following its first year of devolved management.
The body owns roughly half the foreshore around Scotland including 5,800 moorings and some ports and harbours, along with virtually all of the nation’s seabed out to 12 nautical miles – which takes in about 750 fish farming sites and can lead to deals being struck with cable and pipeline operators.
It is these lucrative financial links which have resulted in the funding package announced yesterday, with money being made available to 26 local authorities.
Each will receive a share of the £7.5m total corresponding to their share of the adjacent sea area.
The Western Isles is the biggest benefactor of the fund, with more than £1.7millon to be granted to the Western Isles Council.
Highland weighs in as the second biggest benefactor, receiving £1.2m, with Orkney receiving more than £770,000 and Shetland’s allocation exceeding £1m.
Coastal communities in Argyll and Bute are to benefit from £1.1 million of revenue generated, with Aberdeenshire taking in £328,000.
Aberdeen City is the lowest benefactor, receiving an award of about £30,000.
Land Reform Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “I believe strongly in maximising the benefits of the Scottish Crown Estate and the allocation of £7.5 million to coastal communities the length and breadth of Scotland is the latest step in achieving this.
“The new funding arrangement will see coastal communities receive 100% of revenue generated from the Estate’s marine assets out to 12 nautical miles around Scotland, enabling them to better fund and support local projects and initiatives.”
She added that the new initiative would “enable more decisions to be taken at the local level”.
The allocation of funds is likely to ease concerns of Highland councillors who spoke out last month about the delay in distribution, with council leader Margaret Davidson saying she had repeatedly written to government ministers to demand an update.
A Scottish Government spokesman said the distribution method will be kept under review.