Scottish Crown Estate draft strategic management plan: consultation analysis

Analysis of the responses received to the consultation on the draft Strategic Management Plan for the Scottish Crown Estate.

Section 3

Objectives, Priorities and Policies

Theme 1: Delivering Benefits and Realising Opportunities


To support the vision for the Scottish Crown Estate, a set of 22 objectives, priorities and policies have been developed. These set out details of what the Plan must deliver over the next five years and beyond.

Theme 1 covers delivering benefits and realising opportunities. The following seven objectives, priorities and policies have been articulated, with further detail on each presented in the consultation document:

1. Scottish Crown Estate assets should be managed for the benefit of Scotland and communities, with market value being charged for sales or leases, unless the manager of the asset can demonstrate that wider benefits of equivalent scale will be delivered.

2. In order to realise the benefits potential, and in recognition that some land and property has been acquired over time for specific investment purposes, there is likely to be sales of assets or parts of assets over the five year period of the Plan. Particularly on land or at the coast in response to requests for public benefit purposes or opportunities to increase value to Scotland, recognising that the seabed is a national strategic asset that Scottish Ministers do not wish to become fragmented.

3. Strategies and Plans for Scottish Crown Estate assets should consider the potential for delivering benefits to island communities and assessment of possible impacts will be completed as required under the Island Act 2018.

4. Managers should consider the potential to contribute to wider policies on land reform and community empowerment by offering opportunities to own or manage these assets directly, and as part of strategies to consider the wider value of the existing land assets remaining part of the Scottish Crown Estate.

5. By 2025, the balance between activity related to management of coastal and marine assets is likely to have grown compared with the rural land assets. This reflects the new opportunities that can be realised, but the Scottish Crown Estate is likely to still include a significant amount of land and property assets.

6. Scottish Ministers would like managers to consider the potential for investments that contribute to the achievement of Scotland's Climate Change Plan, and the potential for increased investment activity for the purpose of regeneration for community or national benefit, including land on the coast around ports, harbours and other infrastructure, to realise opportunities for Scotland and local economies, and for these investments to normally be prioritised over other new commercial property investments.

7. Investments in the Scottish Crown Estate should not be limited to the land or property that currently forms part of the Estate, if returns or wider benefits to the Estate or Scotland can be realised. For example, to make it possible to deliver benefits to communities living on the coast adjacent to parts of the seabed contained in the Estate.

Table 7: Question 3

Do you believe that the objectives, priorities and policies contained in theme 1 will allow us to achieve our vision for the future management of the Scottish Crown Estate?

Yes No Total
Individuals 1 1 2
Organisations: 19 4 23
Local Authority 7 2 9
Enterprise or Coastal Management Bodies 3 1 4
Leisure/Tourism 4 1 5
Natural Heritage/Conservation 0 0 0
Other 2 0 2
Land and Estates 1 0 1
Other Commercial/Research 0 0 0
Fisheries/Seafood Bodies 1 0 1
Ports and Harbours 1 0 1
Total 20 5 25

Note: Question not answered by 9 respondents.

Four-fifths of respondents believed that the objectives, priorities and policies contained in theme 1 would support achievement of the vision for the future management of the Scottish Crown Estate (80%). Among others, strong support was expressed by local authorities, enterprise or coastal management bodies and leisure and tourism bodies.

Among respondents who answered "Yes" to this question, a broad range of general comments were provided, as considered below:

  • There was some reference to the close alignment between the objectives, priorities and policies contained in theme 1 and the Plan's vision statement, and support for the commitment to contributing to key policy areas (e.g. climate change, community empowerment, land reform). In part, the close alignment was reported to reflect feedback provided by organisations to previous consultations regarding devolution and reform of the management of the Scottish Crown Estate.
  • There was support among a few respondents (e.g local authority, enterprise and coastal management body, lesiure/tourism) for reference made within theme 1 to the Islands Act and to community-led regeneration. In relation to the latter, a respondent further noted the potential for partnership working with Development Trusts to help deliver projects that would have "substantial community benefit for local areas".
  • However, some respondents (e.g. enterprise or coastal management bodies, leisure/tourism) felt that the commitment to involving and supporting communities within the Plan could be further strengthened. These points are reflected in the following respondent quotes:

The importance of "ensuring communities are informed, consulted, engaged and involved in Crown Estate developments as key stakeholders" was emphasised, and their input "properly valued".

National Organisation – Enterprise or Coastal Management Body

"Lease Option Agreements should only be granted subject to evidence of prior consultation with the communities concerned, to respect the spirit of the National Islands Plan's Island Communities Impact Assessment".

National Organisation – Enterprise or Coastal Management Body

  • It was reported in a few cases that stronger and more explicit linkages could be made between the objectives, priorities and policies in the Plan and other priorities, plans and acts. City Region Growth Deals, the Scottish Government's priorities on inclusive economic growth and tackling regional inequality, and the Remote Rural Act were specifically mentioned.
  • There was wider reference to the importance of accountability and transparency at all levels. Here, the feedback from respondents emphasised:
    • Openness in terms of how income arising from assets was spent to ensure that monies were used appropriately, and that income benefitted communities.
    • Transparency in decision-making processes, including the framework for assessing "equivalent scale" when considering wider benefits. It was felt that decisions (and their rationale) could be made publicly available.
  • While the option to charge less than market value for sales and leases where wider community and sustainability benefits could be demonstrated was welcomed – "it would unlock enormous potential for communities" - various comments were provided regarding the term "equivalent scale", including:
    • That the term was considered vague and would need to be sufficiently defined.
    • That it should not be a calculation that could result in a negative outcome for community empowerment efforts.
    • Managers should consider and demonstrate that it can be reasonably expected that the non-monetary benefits which will accrue as result of a transaction for less than market value are equal to or greater than the income or capital foregone by the transaction. The prospect of achieving these wider benefits should be equally as certain as the financial benefits being foregone to realise these benefits.
    • Some concerns were raised around the fact that non-economic benefits could be "difficult to quantify", and that in some cases economic benefits would be the priority. It was reported that the sustainability of any activities, and how they might impact on the environment and/or communities, would therefore be critical.
  • A respondent felt that there was greater scope for the relocation of Crown Estate jobs in the islands. It was reported that this would contribute to added expertise locally, and make Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) more connected to island communities.
  • One respondent, while recognising the interests of those in coastal areas, noted that the interests of Scotland and its people as a whole should also be taken into account, with respect to Scottish Crown Estate coastal assets.

All respondents (i.e. those that answered "Yes" or "No" to Question 3 or left it blank) provided more specific comments on the seven theme 1 objectives and/or the associated narrative within the consultation document. The diverse range of comments are captured in Appendix C, and most were typically mentioned by individual respondents.

Not all comments provided were explicitly linked to certain theme 1 objectives, and are noted below:

  • A respondent emphasised the importance of adopting a strategic and long-term approach to help maximise impact.
  • A respondent noted that it would be important to make reference to the historic environment in theme 1 and throughout the Plan. This was considered important given the role the historic environment plays in providing a sense of belonging, place-making, and cultural tourism.
  • A respondent felt that there would need to be robust mechanisms put in place to ensure transparency around the income the assets generate in Scotland, including scrutiny of management expenses.



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