A new proposal by the British Crown Estate Scotland has offered hundreds of farms to their current tenants for the first time.

Crown Estate Scotland, which manages some 30,000 ha of tenanted land over four estates, had been consulting on the pilot initiative in recent months, which has been described as “radical”.

In the official pilot programmes, tenant farmers on the Applegirth Estate in Dumfrieshsire and Auchindoon Estate in Moray will be the first tenants able to purchase their properties. If successful, the government will offload other estate properties.

The Estate said that they had looked to take interests of the tenants and local communities into account while developing their overall farm sales policy.

Eligible tenants on the estate would have to express an interest in purchasing their farms at an agreed price, or a joint sale of the farm to a third party on an agreed sales basis.

Another option is the tenant farmers can also release their tenancy for value along the lines set out in the Land Reforms Act 2016, or continue as is with the farmer remaining in situ under the control of the Crown Estate.

The Scottish Tenant Farmers Association (STFA) welcomed the news, calling it “radical” and shift for Scotland’s tenanted farmers.

“In general, tenants are enthusiastic about the proposed farm sales and the opportunities they are to be offered,” Christopher Nicholson, chairman of the STFA said of the event, the Scotsman previously reported.

But, he added: “Some have expressed concerns about the future of a fragmented rural estate following farm sales, especially if the majority of remaining tenants are non-secure tenants with fixed-term leases.”

“However, reassurances have been given to tenants that Crown Estate Scotland will continue to act as a responsible landlord fulfilling its statutory and traditional obligations to its tenants whatever the type of lease.”