Publication - FOI/EIR release

Land transfer of Crown Estate: EIR release

Published: 1 Jul 2021

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Published:
1 Jul 2021
Land transfer of Crown Estate: EIR release
FOI reference: FOI/202100208686
Date received: 2 Jun 2021
Date responded: 30 Jun 2021
Information requested

1. Please provide a list in Excel spreadsheet form of the land transferred from the Crown Estate to the Scottish Government.

Please include the information like the address, coordinates, estimated financial value, land use and size (hectares/acres, etc.)

2. Please provide a list of the land transferred from the Crown Estate to the Scottish Government which has since been sold by the Scottish Government.

Please include the information in Excel spreadsheet form, detailing the address, coordinates, land use and size (hectares/acres, etc.) as well as the date of sale, buyer and sale price.

Response

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the EIRs, we are required to deal with your request under the EIRs. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

1. Attached is a copy of the information requested. 

It may be helpful if I explain that the Smith Commission on further powers for the Scottish Parliament recommended that responsibility for the management of the Crown Estate’s economic assets in Scotland, and the revenue generated from these assets, be transferred to the Scottish Parliament. This includes the Crown Estate’s seabed, urban assets, rural estates, mineral and fishing rights, and the Scottish foreshore for which it is responsible. The management of the property, rights and interests in Scotland that are wholly-owned by Her Majesty in right of the Crown were devolved on 1 April 2017 using the powers in section 90B of the 1998 Act (inserted by section 36 of the Scotland Act 2016). Section 90B (1) states that the Treasury may make a scheme transferring on the transfer date all the existing Scottish functions of the Crown Estate Commissioners (“the Commissioners”) to the Scottish Ministers or a person nominated by the Scottish Ministers. The Crown Estate Transfer Scheme 2017 (S.I. 2017/524) effected the devolution of the management functions for these assets, the revenue arising from those assets and competence to legislate about those functions subject to some reservations.

Property, rights and interests continue to be owned by Her Majesty in right of the Crown. The property, rights and interests of the Crown Estate assets in Scotland are currently managed by Crown Estate Scotland and the net revenue is paid into the Scottish Consolidated Fund.

As your request did not specify a particular time period during which you were seeking the information, we have interpreted your reference to “the Crown Estate” as being a reference to the Crown Estate Commissioners in relation to transfers prior to 1 April 2017 and as a reference to Crown Estate Scotland (which was previously known as Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management)) in relation to transfers on or after that date.

2. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested, so we are refusing your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs (information not held). Under the terms of that exception, the Scottish Government is not required to provide information which it does not have. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested because none of the land transferred from the Crown Estate to the Scottish Government has subsequently been sold by the Scottish Government.

This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. While we recognise that there may be some public interest in information about this matter, clearly we cannot provide information which we do not hold.

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG