Partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment
First Strategic Management Plan for the Scottish Crown Estate
The Scottish Crown Estate includes a diverse range of property, rights and interests. These assets are owned by the Crown and include currently: leasing of the seabed out to 12 nautical miles; leasing rights to renewable energy, cables and pipelines on the Continental Shelf; 37,000 hectares of rural land; rights to naturally-occurring gold and silver; and just under half of Scotland's foreshore including 5,800 licensed moorings, 750 leased aquaculture sites and salmon fishing rights.
In 2014 The Smith Commission recommended responsibility for management of the Crown Estate's economic assets in Scotland, and the revenue generated from these assets, should be transferred to the Scottish Parliament.
On 1 April 2017, the management of the Crown Estate's Scottish assets was devolved to Scotland and Scottish Ministers established Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) to manage the assets.
The Scottish Crown Estate Bill was introduced in Parliament on 24 January 2018 to provide a legislative framework for delivery of The Smith Commission's recommendations concerning the Crown Estate in Scotland. The Bill was approved by the Scottish Parliament on 21 November 2018 and the Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019 (the Act) received Royal Assent on 15 January 2019.
The Act reforms the legal framework for management of the assets including powers to change the manager of a Scottish Crown Estate asset, a new set of duties and accounting arrangements for the assets and for the name of the current manager to be changed to Crown Estate Scotland.
Until provisions of the Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019 are commenced the existing legislative framework under the Crown Estate Act 1961 and the Crown Estate Scotland Order 2017 continue to apply.
The Act provides an opportunity for a phased approach to implementation of the reforms, including consideration of which parts of the estate are managed at the local level and wider reforms to how assets are managed, while recognising that a one-size-fits-all approach is not practical and some assets will need to be managed at the national level.
The remaining provisions of the Act will be commenced in order to become law through a series of instruments to be laid in the Scottish Parliament. The first commencement regulation brought into force on 1 June 2019 a duty for the Scottish Ministers to prepare a Strategic Management Plan (the Plan) for the Scottish Crown Estate. In accordance with the Act the Plan must set out the objectives, priorities and policies in relation to the management of the Scottish Crown Estate and must include an assessment of how those align with the Scottish Ministers' other objectives, priorities and policies. It can also include such other information about the Scottish Crown Estate and its management as the Scottish Ministers consider appropriate.
The Scottish Ministers were required to consult with managers and other persons they considered appropriate in preparing the Plan. Scottish Ministers consulted on the draft Strategic Management Plan between 30 August 2019 and 22 November 2019. A total of 34 responses were received. Overall, respondents agreed with our proposed vision, objectives, and priorities and how they align with Scottish Ministers' other objectives, priorities and policies.
A copy of the Plan will be laid before the Scottish Parliament, with the Scottish Ministers then publishing the Plan as soon as reasonably practicable after this. A manager of one or more Scottish Crown Estate assets is to have regard to the Strategic Management Plan when preparing a Corporate Plan or Management Plan and when exercising management functions.
A five-yearly review of the Plan will take place in accordance with section 23 of the Act. A review may either result in a revised Plan being prepared (subject to the same statutory consultation, laying and publication requirements) or in the Scottish Ministers laying a statement before the Scottish Parliament stating that they consider the Plan should not be revised.
The second commencement regulation renames Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) to Crown Estate Scotland and includes duties such as financial matters, reporting arrangements, grants and loans to managers and the schedules of the Act. Restriction on removal of wild kelp from the seabed is also within this regulation and will come into effect on 1 October 2020.
A third commencement regulation will bring into effect the remaining provisions within the Act surrounding Transfer and Delegations, including eligibility, reporting and management provisions for these managers. It is expected this regulation will be bought into force during 2021.
The purpose of the Strategic Management Plan is to set out Scottish Ministers' objectives, priorities and policies in relation to the management of the Scottish Crown Estate and an assessment of how these align with other objectives, priorities and policies. In doing so Scottish Ministers have set out a transparent statement on the vision and high level objectives for the future management of the estate, including how the new framework could look at the end of the five year period.
In summary the Plan includes:
- Objectives, priorities and policies in relation to the management of the Estate;
- Information and policies on other issues including revenue;
- Plans for a process for inviting and considering proposals for transfer or delegation of management of an asset or part or an asset;
- Future intentions on what guidance will be developed;
- Plans for how the powers for Scottish Ministers contained in the Act may be used e.g. general powers of direction to define accounting or other requirements, rent and other charges, investment of money.
First Strategic Management Plan Vision
The Scottish Government' Strategic Management Plan vision is provided below:
"The Scottish Crown Estate is managed sustainably, responsibly and fairly, and in a transparent and inclusive manner, to deliver long term financial and wider social, economic and environmental wellbeing benefits for Scotland and its communities."