2. Stage 2 – Evidence
What impact will your policy/strategy/plan have on island communities?
The sections in the Act that will be commenced via the project were developed to have a direct impact on the whole SCE which covers the whole of Scotland, not just Island Communities. The Act includes sections to reform the powers and duties of a manager of SCE assets and for changes in the management of its assets. At present there is a single manager, Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management), who manages the portfolio of property, rights and interests, which currently includes:
- 37,000 hectares of rural land with agricultural tenancies, residential and commercial properties and forestry on four rural estates (Glenlivet & Fochabers in Moray, Applegirth in Dumfries and Galloway and Whitehill in Midlothian);
- Rights to fish wild salmon and sea trout in river and coastal areas;
- Rights to naturally occurring gold and silver across most of Scotland;
- Extensive coastal rights including just under half the foreshore, 5,800 moorings and in some ports and harbours around the whole of Scotland;
- Leasing of virtually all seabed out to 12 nautical miles, covering some 750 fish farming sites and agreements with cables & pipeline operators, and equivalent rights to the seabed out to 200 nautical miles;
- The rights to leasing for offshore renewable energy and gas and carbon dioxide storage out to 200 nautical miles;
- Retail and office units at 39-41 George Street Edinburgh.
Details of assets can be found at https://www.crownestatescotland.com/what-we-do/map
In the future, the proposed duties and powers being commenced would apply to the local management of specific assets by local authorities, community organisations, Scottish Harbour Authorities or by another part of the public sector.
Under the provisions for transfer and delegation contained in the Act, there is the potential for there to be multiple managers of the Scottish Crown Estate in future, (either in the islands or on the mainland), each with the responsibility of managing one or more of the assets. It is possible that some may only manage one asset or part of an asset e.g. management of the foreshore or seabed in a part of Scotland. The Act will provide the mechanism by which management of an asset could be transferred or delegated to a local level (either to interested parties in the islands or mainland that meet the requirements of the Act), and sets out the regulatory framework within which a manager must operate. The Act treats all managers of the assets the same regardless of where in Scotland they manage an asset.
There will be a Strategic Management Plan at the national level to govern management of the assets which will ensure common standards of openness, transparency and accountability across the SCE. A manager will be required to prepare a management plan for asset which is being managed. A manager will need to consider the implications of a management plans on island communities.
Commencement also includes Section 15 - Restrictions on the removal of wild kelp from the seabed within assets managed as part of the SCE. There are currently licenses granted by Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) throughout Scotland including in the Highlands and Islands and off the East Coast mainland, so the provision is not island specific.
Commencement also includes Section 7 - Duty to maintain and seek to enhance value, and requires a manager to seek to manage SCE assets in a sustainable manner. The current manager (Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management)) and any future managers such as local authorities, island or mainland community organisations and Scottish harbour authorities will need to consider the wider island impacts in their decision making for assets relating to the islands. It is not anticipated that these local decisions in relation to the management would have a negative impact on island communities. An individual manager's plan could however have impacts on islands and a manager will be required to carry out a screening exercise to determine any impacts on island communities to complement the development of the management plan, wider plans or policies.
The purpose of the sections in the Act to be commenced in this order is not to advance or address or deal with issues specifically for island communities but for Scotland as a whole and is to ensure the overall long-term framework for the management of the estate is intended to support value and growth through sustainability and regeneration in all parts of the estate and to reform wider management powers.