Aberdeenshire coastal areas share Crown Estates Scotland funding

Coastal areas of Aberdeenshire are set to receive an equal share of Crown Estate Scotland funding.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 12:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 12:34 pm
Coastal communities - including areas such as Cruden Bay - will receive half the funding received by Aberdeenshre Council from Crown Estates Scotland, with the remainder going to the Coastal Communities Challenge Fund.

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

Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) has endorsed criteria which will see 50 per cent 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 go 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.

Councillor Peter Argyle, ISC chair, 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.”

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

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.”

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