Crown Estate sees surplus shrink 10%

REPAIRS to farm buildings damaged in two winters of heavy snow fall ate into profits at the Crown Estate in Scotland, according to figures released yesterday.

The estate's surplus - which goes to the Treasury - fell by 10 per cent to 9.9 million in the year to 31 March after investment in its properties rose by 76 per cent to 7.4m.

About 2m was pumped into its rural estate - which consists of 43,000 hectares at Applegirth, Fochabers, Glenlivet, Stirling and Whitehill - while 4.4m was spent on the marine estate, preparing the seabed and coastline for more offshore renewable energy developments.

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The overall value of the Crown Estate in Scotland rose by 13 per cent to 207.1m. As well as the rural lands and the seabed out to 12 nautical miles, the Crown lands include commercial property on Edinburgh's Princes Street and half of the Fort Kinnaird retail park on the edge of the Scottish capital.

Across the UK as a whole, the Crown Estate manages a property portfolio worth an estimated 7 billion, including retail and office space in London.

The Scottish figures form part of the overall UK data released earlier this month, which showed that the Crown Estate's surplus rose by 9.6 per cent to hit a record 230.9m.

First Minister Alex Salmond has called for the revenues from the Crown Estate north of the Border to go to the Scottish Government instead of the Treasury.

But, earlier this month, the Treasury launched a 3.9m "coastal communities" fund for Scotland using cash from the Crown Estate's marine revenues.

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