New research by the Scottish Agricultural College into the functioning of country estates in Scotland has found that they play a vital role in supporting local communities.

The study also found that the huge variety of activities undertaken by estates brings a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits to their local communities.

Amongst the findings, the research calculated that economic contributions from typical estates to local communities ranged from £250,000 to more than £2 million; they are often the most significant employer in the area, and that estates provide a large portfolio of affordable rural housing with rents below market levels.

Larger estates were found to have property portfolios of as much as 150 houses for local workers, and often provide around 100 full or part time jobs for people in the communities around them, according to the SAC.

Graham Kerr, senior rural business adviser the college said: ‘The research confirms beyond a doubt the extent of the significant contribution of estates in social, economic and environmental terms. Estates obviously bring a range of benefits to communities and the challenge for them in the future is to sustain and improve this track record.’

Chairman of the Scottish Estates Business Group, Sandy Lewis, added: ‘This research clearly shows the major contribution estates make to rural Scotland and this is possible because the vast majority of estates are run as rural businesses. It is sustainable economic output that is the basis for securing long-term conservation and social benefits.’

Scottish Agricultural College