Policy actions  3 of 3

The Scottish Crown Estate

The Scottish Crown Estate is a collection of ancient rights, functions and assets owned by the Monarch in right of the Crown. The Scottish Crown Estate assets include a diverse portfolio of property, rights and interests. The total property value of the Scottish Crown Estate assets was approximately £426.2 million at 31 March 2020.

Scottish Crown Estate assets were previously managed by The Crown Estate at UK level. The Smith Commission (2014) recommended that the management of Crown Estate assets in Scotland, and their revenues, should be devolved. The Scotland Act 2016 enabled HM Treasury to develop a Transfer Scheme to devolve powers over the revenue management of Scottish assets and this came into force on 1 April 2017.

The Scottish Crown Estate includes leasing of the seabed out to 12 nautical miles, 37,000 hectares of rural land; rights to most naturally-occurring gold and silver; and approximately half of Scotland’s foreshore including 5,800 licensed moorings; 750 aquaculture sites; and salmon fishing rights.

Crown Estate Scotland

Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) was established in 2017 as a public corporation to oversee the management of the Scottish Crown Estate assets whilst the new legislative framework for the Scottish Crown Estate was established. From 1 April 2020 Crown Estate Scotland became the manager of all the assets.

Crown Estate Scotland manages rural, coastal and marine assets, as well as other commercial property. They work independently from Scottish Ministers operating under their own Board, in line with a Framework Document which has been agreed by the Scottish Government.

Scottish Ministers agree Crown Estate Scotland’s Corporate Plan which is produced in line with Scottish Government strategic objectives every three years. Crown Estate Scotland also produce a Business Plan which sets their annual objectives.

Crown Estate Scotland is required to produce an Annual Report and Accounts, which outline all revenue net profit, which is returned to the Scottish Government. For further information on Crown Estate Scotland please visit their website.

Marine Scotland

Marine Scotland have a key role in reforming the Scottish Crown Estate and oversee the sponsorship of Crown Estate Scotland to ensure Scottish Ministers objectives, priorities and policies are met. Marine Scotland also led the development of the Scottish Crown Estate Bill and the Strategic Management Plan for the Scottish Crown Estate. The Stakeholder Advisory Group for the Scottish Crown Estate was established in 2015 to provide views on the interim framework and  long-term management of Crown Estate Scotland.

The Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019

A public consultation on the long-term management of the Crown Estate in Scotland ran from 4 January to 29 March 2017. A consultation analysis report was published on 25 January 2018. On 24 January 2018, the Scottish Crown Estate Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament to create a new legislative framework for of the Scottish Crown Estate. The Bill completed its Parliamentary progress on 21 November 2018 and received Royal Assent on 15 January 2019. The Parliamentary consideration of the Bill with the official reports are available on the Scottish Parliament website.

Commencement of the Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019

Marine Scotland are taking forward the commencement and implementation of Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019 (The Act).

This first commencement regulation was laid in the Scottish Parliament on the 17 May 2019. This regulation brought into force on 1 June 2019 the sections of the Act relating to the Strategic Management Plan and other Scottish Ministers’ powers and duties such as ministerial directions.

The second commencement regulation was laid in the Scottish Parliament on 13 March 2020. This regulation was brought into force on 1 April 2020 and commenced the section relating to Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management)’s name change to Crown Estate Scotland. It also commenced new duties and financial reporting matters on Crown Estate Scotland. This regulation had the effect of replacing the Crown Estate Act 1961 provisions for the management of the Scottish assets. This regulation also brought into effect on 1 October 2020 Section 15 of the Act, restriction on removal of wild kelp from seabed. A Q&A was published on 1 October 2020.

The third commencement regulation will bring into force the remaining sections of the Act relating to potential new managers of Scottish Crown Estate assets. This means that management of Scottish Crown Estate assets could be devolved to local level management. This regulation includes transfer and delegation powers including reporting, accounting and grants for new managers and delegation ability of certain powers to Crown Estate Scotland. The timing of this commencement regulation is currently being considered.

Marine Scotland have considered the relevant impact assessments for the commencement orders above, please see these linked below:

Strategic Management Plan

Under the Act, Scottish Ministers are required to prepare a Strategic Management Plan (The Plan) which sets out objectives, priorities and policies in relation to management of the Scottish Crown Estate. 

Scottish Ministers consulted on a draft Plan and Strategic Environmental Assessment between 30 August and 22 November 2019. A total of 34 responses were received (32 organisations and 2 individuals) and the analysis  report was published on 25 February 2020. The consultation responses were considered and informed the development of the final version of the Plan.

Scottish Ministers published the Strategic Management Plan for the Scottish Crown Estate on 31 March 2020. A Post Adoption Statement on the Strategic Environmental Assessment was published on 30 July 2020.

The Plan builds on the Scottish Ministers’ programme of work to reform the management of the Scottish Crown Estate. It sets out a strategic direction to optimise the use of the assets while protecting the Crown’s interest and contributes to the successful delivery of wider Scottish Government policies to provide the best outcomes for Scotland. The Plan outlines a vision and a set of objectives, priorities and policies for the future management of the Scottish Crown Estate to deliver wider and long term social, economic and environmental benefits.

Scottish Ministers are required to review the Plan within five years. Marine Scotland will also monitor the implementation of the Plan during this period.

Net Revenue

The Scottish Government is committed to distributing to Island and Coastal local authorities a share of the net revenue generated from the Scottish Crown Estate out to 12 nautical miles. This commitment was set out in the ‘Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities’ prospectus published on 16 June 2014 and was later extended in 2016 to also include coastal councils. 

Net revenue payments made in 2019 and 2020

Each local authority’s allocation is based on their share of total marine area in the 0-12 nautical mile zone adjacent to each local authority. The formula for calculating the allocations is agreed with COSLA and the allocations are distributed in arrears following the finalisation of the Annual Report and Accounts for the Scottish Crown Estate. Any net revenue from Scottish Crown Estate Scotland assets provided to coastal and island local authorities should be invested for coastal community benefit.

The first distribution of net revenue to coastal and island local authorities was made in September 2019. This saw 26 local authorities benefit from £7.2 million of net revenue from Scottish Crown Estate marine assets out to 12 nautical miles generated in 2017-2018.

The second round of net revenue payments, which distributed £9.7 million to local authorities was announced 11 July 2020.