Scottish Crown Estate Act Commencement Project: Islands Communities Impact Assessment

An Islands Communities impact assessment relating to the commencement of the Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019.

Island Communities Impact Assessment Summary

Title of Policy, Strategy, Programme etc.:

Scottish Crown Estate: Commencement Project

Summary of aims and expected outcomes of strategy, proposal, programme or policy:

The strategy is to commence the new powers and duties for a manager of a Scottish Crown Estate (SCE) asset that are contained in the Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019, and introduce the new legal name for the current manager - Crown Estate Scotland. The effect will be to introduce a new legal framework for management of Scottish Crown Estate assets, replacing the Crown Estate Act 1961. This will have the effect of more relevant, appropriate and flexible provisions to capitalise on the benefits of the assets while promoting inclusiveness and high levels of accountability and transparency.

The policy behind the project is to commence the sections in the Act in an approach which best ensures a smooth commencement for Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) and their tenants. Scottish Ministers are therefore commencing the Act in a phased approach to ensure it is commenced in a timely manner.

Summary of evidence:

The Scottish Crown Estate 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.

The sections in the Act that will be commenced via the project were developed to apply to the entire SCE across Scotland. The Act is not designed to advance or address or deal with issues specifically for island communities but for the Scottish Crown Estate 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 of the estate through sustainability and regeneration and to reform wider management powers.

The Act will provide the mechanism by which management of an asset could be further devolved to a local level (this could be for example island or mainland communities or local authorities) and sets out the regulatory framework within which a manager must operate. 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 which any manager must take account of in developing their own management plan. The Act treats all managers the same regardless of where in Scotland they manage an asset.

Scottish Ministers acknowledge that once the Act is commenced, a manager will in future also need to consider the impact of their decisions and plans on island communities, where applicable.

There has been a significant amount of discussion and consultation on the future management of the SCE over the last few years through consultations and in Parliamentary, and all has included engagement with island representatives.

Summary of assessment findings:

Our assessment is that an Island Communities Impact Assessment does not need to be carried out for this commencement project. The commencement project is a technical, enabling exercise only to bring the sections of the Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019 into effect. Due to the diverse nature of the SCE these provisions will apply Scotland-wide.


Name: Mike Palmer

Job title: Head of Crown Estate Strategy Unit, Marine Scotland: Aquaculture, Crown Estate, Recreational Fisheries, EMFF and Europe



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