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 4

Objectives, Priorities and Policies

Theme 2: How Scottish Crown Estate Assets are Managed


Theme 2 covers how Scottish Crown Estate assets are managed. The following seven objectives, priorities and policies have been articulated for theme 2, with further detail on each presented in the consultation paper:

8. The diversity of the Scottish Crown Estate means that a one size fits all approach to management is not practical and there are potential benefits of local control, management or enhanced input to decision-making within the national governance framework provided by the Scottish Crown Estate Act, and this framework provides the potential for different approaches in different parts of Scotland.

9. It is anticipated that by the end of the five year period there will be a variety of managers of Scottish Crown Estate assets with individual assets managed at the appropriate level and opportunities through either transfers, delegations or pilots for councils, communities and other eligible organisations to contribute to or control decisions on how assets are managed and used.

10. Scotland's seabed is a national strategic asset and should be managed at the national level but Scottish Ministers will keep the arrangements under review to determine whether it is most appropriate for assets to be managed at the national or local level.

11. Scottish Ministers will run an initial round to invite proposals for transfer or delegation of management of an asset, or parts of an asset to local parts of Scotland, and will consult in advance on draft guidance on what proposals should include and the criteria for assessing proposals received including potential benefits and value for money.

12. All managers should exercise functions when managing a Scottish Crown Estate asset in a way that is transparent, accountable, inclusive and consistent with any other principle of good governance.

13. Scottish Ministers will develop guidance or directions on the manner in which a manager is expected to comply with the requirements of the Scottish Crown Estate Act relating to furthering sustainable development and seeking to manage assets in a way that is likely to contribute to wider benefits in Scotland, including relevant considerations when exercising the powers in section 11 of the Act[3].

14. Scottish Ministers will develop directions or guidance on other requirements for managers including accounting requirements and any charging requirements under section 13 of the Act.

Table 8: Question 4

Do you believe that the objectives, priorities and policies contained in theme 2 will allow us to achieve our vision for the future management of the Scottish Crown Estate?

Yes No Total
Individuals 0 1 1
Organisations: 21 3 24
Local Authority 8 1 9
Enterprise or Coastal Management Bodies 4 1 5
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 21 4 25

Note: Question not answered by 9 respondents.

Over 80% of respondents believed that the objectives, priorities and policies contained in theme 2 would allow the achievement of the vision for the future management of the Scottish Crown Estate. Strong support was expressed by local authorities, enterprise and coastal management bodies, leisure and tourism bodies, and others (e.g. ports and harbours, land and estates, fisheries/seafood bodies).

Similar to Question 3, these respondents identified a range of general comments on the detail of theme 2 as specified in the consultation document. These have been summarised below:

  • There was strong support for the proposition that a "one-size-fits-all" approach would not be practical given the diversity of the Scottish Crown Estate assets (e.g. charactisterics, location). Flexibility of approach was welcomed, and it was reported that this would help ensure assets were managed effectively. It was further reported that lessons learned from the current pilot projects could also help infom future approaches.
  • Both national and local bodies expressed support for increased opportunities for local control, management or enhanced input to decision-making through opportunities for transfer, delegation or pilots. Efforts to take account of the needs and ambitions of local communities, a commitment to greater levels of local control, and enhanced input to decision-making were all welcomed. These points are reflected in the following respondent quotes.

"There are already many examples of local communities managing piers and jetties, moorings and anchorages and there are aspirations to exploit potential renewables opportunities. Being in control of decisions over these assets, and potentially other assets in the control of the Scottish Crown Estate, can create income streams that can help strengthen local economic performance and contribute to more empowered, sustainable and resilient communities.

This represents a real shift in ways of working and will ensure that social, economic and environmental impacts and opportunities are fully considered from a local community perspective as well as building valuable working relationships with the local authority and policy makers. Every community within the Crown Estate should have the opportunity to become a similar stakeholder and we would call for this to be included as a measurable objective within theme 2".

National Organisation – Enterprise or Coastal Management Body

"…help both communities and also the Crown Estate, giving local communities a greater sense of ownership and the Crown Estate will gain invaluable local knowledge".

Local Organisation – Enterprise or Coastal Management Body

"….however, it is not yet clear as to the relationship that will be formed between the Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) and any other asset managers. This relationship (along with the associated directions provided) will be key to delivering this vision".

National Organisation - Other

  • Good governance of Scottish Crown Estate assets was considered important by some respondents. Firstly, it was highlighted that the assets should be managed in a way that is transparent, accountable and inclusive, and subject to periodic review. Secondly, there was agreement that clear guidance on the local management of the Crown Estate should be developed (e.g. including criteria for how decisions would be made). It was further suggested that local authorities, through COSLA, could be a important partner in the development of any guidance. Thirdly, one respondent proposed that there could be representation of island communities on decision-making structures alongside a wider commitment to ensure that island communities were made fully aware and engaged in any decisions that affect them.

Wider feedback provided by these respondents, albeit not by many, included:

  • A couple of respondents felt that the "principle of proportionality" should be applied to proposals dependent on the value of the asset requested. The importance of having a clear and fair policy for charging community organisations that takes account of the wider project value and viability was specficially mentioned.
  • A couple of comments were made on reporting requirements. One respondent considered the arrangements as set out in the consultation doucment reasonable, while a few felt that this should be proportionate to the complexity and value of the asset involved.
  • Wider points raised by these respondents were as follows:
    • A local authority felt that there could be greater recognition of the role local authorities could play as potential managers of the Crown Estate. It was reported that this could have the benefit of drawing on wider asset management expertise and linking the Crown Estate assets to local authority assets (i.e. to maximise economic, social and environment wellbeing benefit).
    • It was considered important that the management of the Crown Estate does not become "fragmented and piecemeal". This point is reflected in the local authority quote outlined below.

"…a process would need to be put in place to ensure that the "localisation" of the Crown Estate needs to be managed in a way which does not lead to fragmentation and create unintended blockages to delivering on the objectives and vison set out in the plan".

Local Organisation – Local Authority

  • There was considered to be scope in the future to review the extent to which certain assets could be managed locally. Here, it was mentioned that the scope of locally managed assets could be broadened.
  • A local authority made specific reference to consideration of rivers – more specifically that the entirety of the river needs to be considered in relation to issues such as flooding, water catchment, biodiversity and water quality. It was reported that further fragmentation of ownership of the river bed should be considered in this wider context and managed on a regional/national basis.

While over four-fifths believed the objectives, priorities and policies contained in theme 2 would allow the achievement of the vision for the future management of the Scottish Crown Estate, the remainder did not (four, 16%). The following individual points were raised by these respondents:

  • It was felt that the complexity of reporting arrangements required by the Act could "act as a deterrent" to communities wishing to take on the management of assets. To help overcome this, a more collaborative and supportive approach was suggested - "harnessing Crown Estate Scotland skills and experience to help communities through these complex governance challenges".
  • A concern, based on experience from a pilot scheme, was that communities would not have any meaningful input to decisions regarding local assets (e.g. make recommendations but not the final decision). It was felt that communities need to more be than a "consultee" otherwise there was a risk that communities would become disengaged.
  • An enterprise or coastal body respondent felt that the vision could only be achieved if a number of safeguards were put in place, including:
    • The management of Crown Estate property should be mindful of the community importance and use of assets and not be solely focused on profit.
    • A more "community sympathetic attitude" should prevail.
    • Control should be more vigorously exercised regarding salmon farming which was said to have damaged west coast ecology with insufficient restrictions.
    • The maritime limit and control should extend out to the maximum and not limited to inshore waters. The revenue generated should benefit the people of Scotland.

All respondents (i.e. those that answered "Yes" or "No" to Question 4 or left it blank) provided more specific comments on the seven theme 2 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.



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