Scottish Crown Estate strategic management plan: environmental report

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the consultation draft of the Scottish Crown Estate strategic management plan.

Appendix B: Supplementary Environmental Baseline

7.1 Material Assets

7.1.1 The spatial distribution of SCE assets can be seen in Figure 6, Appendix C. A range of existing protection objectives and policies at the national and international levels relate to this topic area. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) own and lease both marine and land based assets with the biggest proportion relating to the four rural estates (forestry and agriculture), aquaculture and other coastal and marine assets (including energy infrastructure). Figures 3 and 4 (in this section) represent the policy and legislative controls for these assets. Policy context for the remaining asset-related activities (salmon and trout river fishing, mineral extraction and mining and ownership of retail and office units) is included in the sections that follow.

Terrestrial Assets

Terrestrial Assets

7.1.2 Key terrestrial assets managed by Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) are shown in the inset and the policy context setting environmental objectives is presented in Figure 5.

7.1.3 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) manages 37,000 hectares of rural land with the vast majority let for uses such as farming, residential, commercial, sporting and mineral operations. This includes the four rural estates. Farming tenancies across the four estates total approximately 30,000 hectares[60].

7.1.4 75% of Scotland's land is agricultural land, and a diverse range of farming takes place across the country including arable farming, crofting, hill farming and lowland livestock and dairy farming[61]. Over half of Scotland's agricultural land is used for upland sheep farming and mixed sheep and beef cattle farming[62].

7.1.5 Forestry assets on the four estates are managed directly by Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) rather than being let. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) manages 5,000 hectares of commercial forestry, mostly in Glenlivet. Woodlands provide vital places for a diverse range of plants and wildlife to grow, feed, breed and take shelter. The Glenlivet Estate looks after over 550 hectares of native woodland and are increasing the native woodland cover along riparian corridors and with new plantings.

7.1.6 There are a range of statutory consenting regimes relevant to SCE asset classes, including the Town and Country Planning and marine licensing regimes, amongst others. The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011[63] set the basis for pollution control in relation to the water environmental and pollutant discharge. These include point source and diffuse discharges and are therefore relevant to a number of Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) activities, including mineral extraction, forestry and agriculture.

7.1.7 Climate change legislation and sectoral plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are relevant to the assets and their management. SCE assets support the activities of renewable energy generation, but can also be vulnerable to climate change themselves, particularly asset located in low-lying areas around the coast. Section 7.7 includes detail around climate change objectives.

7.1.8 The woodlands within the Estate comprise semi-natural birch woodland, found mainly in Strathavon, and pockets of conifer plantations. Alder, aspen, birch and bird cherry are common, whilst ash, wych elm, gean and goat willow are all confined to a few brown forest soils in the lower reaches of the Avon and Livet. Oak is scarce, and unusually Scots pine woodland is absent. Self-sown Scots pine exists, thought to derive via seeds from plantations[64].

7.1.9 Two woodlands are classified as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI); Lower Strathavon Woodlands (semi-natural broadleaved woodlands) and Bochel Wood (Birch and Juniper woodland / heath)[65].

7.1.10 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) manages around 140 river salmon fishing tenancies, on around 60 rivers across Scotland, including the Allan Water, the River Leader, the Findhorn, the Stinchar, the Clyde, the Almond and the Forth[66].

7.1.11 The four estates support a wide variety of visitor attractions and activities including walking trails, purpose built bike trails and fishing. Applegirth is also internationally renowned for its highly successful artificial sand martin nesting banks. Tourism contributes £4 billion to Scotland's economy every year with Scotland's scenery and landscapes being the highest motivation for visiting. Nature-based tourism is estimated to contribute nearly 40% of all tourism spend supporting 39,000 full time equivalent jobs[67].

7.1.12 Office and retail units on George Street, Edinburgh owned by Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) fall within the Edinburgh Old and New Towns UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as within the New Town Conservation Areas and are therefore governed by relevant historic and cultural heritage preservation and enhancement policies detailed in section 4.13.

7.1.13 Scotland is rich in various rock types used as building materials including basalt, flagstone, granite, sandstone and slate as well as various minerals. Peat continues to be used locally as a fuel source[68]. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) grants leases to commercial mineral operators to exploit minerals found on the four rural estates. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) aims to balance income generation with responsible management. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) also manage rights to naturally occurring gold and silver (known as Mines Royal) across most of Scotland. Mining and quarrying of these resources is the tenth top sector in terms of international exports, exporting over £1 billion in 2013[69].

7.1.14 Baseline information regarding water supply, quality and flooding related to the management of SCE assets is covered in section 4.10.

Marine Assets

Marine Assets

7.1.15 The environmental protection objectives established at international, community, and Member State level for the key marine assets is presented in Figure 4.

7.1.16 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) manages around half of the foreshore (around 50% of the 18,000 km) and most of the seabed out to the 12 nautical mile (nm) limit (the Scottish zone). Within this area, Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) awards and manages leases for telecommunication and electricity cables, oil and gas pipelines, offshore renewable energy projects (to 200 nm - the Scottish zone) (see inset), fish farms, some 5,800 moorings and ports and harbours. It also grants licenses and consents for associated activities and developments.


7.1.17 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) holds fishing rights for salmon and fish of the salmon kind (e.g. trout) in Scotland. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) manages 140 river salmon fishing tenancies spanning across 60 rivers. These activities are controlled by the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) Act 2003[70] which consolidates legislation relating to salmon and freshwater fisheries in Scotland and sets out regulation on the permitted methods of fishing for salmon and freshwater fish.

7.1.18 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) leases approximately 750 fish farming sites to operators to grow fin fish and shellfish and Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) also licence seaweed harvesting to help ensure sustainable practice.

7.1.19 Aquaculture is increasingly important in Scotland, enabling sustainable economic growth in rural and coastal communities particularly in the Highlands and Islands, with significant wider impacts across the supply chain.

7.1.20 Over 8,000 people are employed in the Scottish aquaculture industry and it contributes £1.8bn each year to the Scottish economy.

7.1.21 Aquaculture in Scotland mainly provides finfish for consumption with farmed Atlantic salmon dominating the (96%). Scotland also has a successful shellfish-farming sector specialising mainly in producing blue mussels and Pacific oysters.

7.1.22 Salmon is Scotland's top food export and in 2016, the export sales of Atlantic salmon were estimated at £600 million.

Renewable Energy

7.1.23 Scotland is a net exporter of electricity. In 2015, the amount of electricity generated in Scotland by renewable sources equated to 59.4% of the gross annual consumption of electricity in Scotland. The Scottish Government is committed to generating an equivalent of 100% electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020, along with at least 11% renewable heat. Renewable energy currently supports approximately 12000 jobs in Scotland. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) is responsible for the management and leasing of rights to the seabed for renewable energy development including carbon capture and storage out to 200 nm from shore.

7.1.24 Offshore wind is a continually growing sector and a key factor in delivering Scotland's ambitious renewable energy targets. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) award and manage leases to the seabed out to from 12-200 nm and also support developers through pre-planning and consents for construction. Offshore wind farms include the 180MW Robin Rigg in the Solway Firth, the 588MW Beatrice project in the Moray Firth; and Hywind II of the Aberdeenshire coast which is the world's first floating offshore windfarm.

7.1.25 In terms of wave and tidal energy, Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) are responsible for bringing new development opportunities to market by leasing areas of the seabed and managing the associated seabed rights. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management)'s predecessor the Crown Estate invested directly in the MeyGen tidal power development in the Pentland Firth, the first commercial scale tidal stream array in the world. The first turbine of MeyGen was launched in in autumn 2016. This £10 million investment is now part of the Crown Estate Scotland portfolio.

7.1.26 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) provide rights for offshore natural gas storage and CO2 storage beneath the seabed, within the Exclusive Economic Zone. In this capacity, Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) works with developers to explore how CO2 storage beneath the seabed could help the UK meet its carbon emission targets.

Moorings, Ports and Harbours

7.1.27 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) is also responsible for managing moorings and some ports and harbours. Scotland's sailing tourism economy generates approximately £130 million and supports 2700 jobs and is predicted to grow by 28% over the next seven years. Marine recreation and tourism expenditure in Scotland is estimated at £3.7 billion per year based on 23 recreation and tourism related activities surveyed.

Figure 3: Environmental objectives for rural assets (forestry and agriculture)

Figure 3: Environmental objectives for rural assets (forestry and agriculture)

References listed in Appendix D.

Figure 4: Environmental objectives for marine assets (energy and aquaculture)

Figure 4: Environmental objectives for marine assets (energy and aquaculture)

References listed in Appendix D.

7.2 Biodiversity, flora and fauna

7.2.1 Scotland has a number of varied and ecologically complex landscapes and habitats, ranging from raised bog to native and ancient woodland, and is a home to a wide range of species.

7.2.2 Scotland's habitats and the species they support are protected by international, EU and national level legislation, plans, programmes and strategies. At EU level, the Habitats and Birds Directives form the basis of biodiversity protection and enhancement. In 2011, the EU adopted the Biodiversity Strategy for 2020 which aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem degradation via six targets, ranging from ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and forestry to combatting invasive non-native species (INNS).

Scotland’s Environment in numbers

Source: Scotland's Environment Web and Scottish Natural Heritage

7.2.3 EU directives are transposed into UK and Scots law through the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended)[71], The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended)[72], the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004[73], Wildlife and the Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011[74] and through provisions for marine habitats under the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017[75].

7.2.4 65 habitats and 1150 species have been listed as priorities for conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan[76]. Nationally, Scotland's Biodiversity Strategy[77] aims to protect and restore Scotland's biodiversity, and help connect people with the natural world and maximise the benefits of Scotland's natural environment and its services in a sustainable way. The Strategy fits within the context of Scotland's Biodiversity: It's In Your Hands[78] which sets out a vision for 2030 of a Scotland which is a world leader in biodiversity enhancement and conservation. The achievement of this vision is underpinned by objectives across five categories: species and habitats, people, ecosystems and landscapes, and improving biodiversity knowledge and co-ordination of projects.

7.2.5 In Scotland, the Natura 2000 ecological network includes a number of SACs and SPAs. In addition, 75 Local Nature Reserves and 43 National Nature Reserves exist. The biggest SACs, Inner Hebrides and the Minches, are located off the west coast of Scotland and cover a combined area of 1.38 million hectares. In addition to these, a recent consultation on proposed SPAs for Scottish marine birds and site classifications set out 15 addition sites to be designated[79]. In June 2019, a further consultation on proposals to designate four new MPAs in Scottish waters was launched seeking views on the designation of North East Lewis, Sea of the Hebrides, Shiant East Bank and Southern Trench[80]. A range of aquaculture, energy and other coastal assets are located within these SACs (Figure 7).

7.2.6 SCE mineral assets such as Ben Orchy and Glen Lyon stretch over a number of biological designated areas such as SACs as well as SPAs - Glen Etive and Glen Fyne. Similarly, Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) manage the rights to naturally occurring gold and silver across most of Scotland.

7.2.7 The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act also sets a duty to further the conservation of biodiversity on all public bodies in Scotland. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) published a Biodiversity Statement in 2018 which outlines the priority projects and targets for Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) management and leasing of assets in alignment with the Scottish Governments' 2020 challenge for Scotland's biodiversity.

7.2.8 As part of this statement, Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) also committed to working with partners to trial the Natural Capital Protocol in a series of projects with a focus on the SCE rural estates. The aim was for tenant farmers taking part in the project to better understand the impact of rural businesses on the natural environment, as well as assess the value of natural assets to inform decisions on land. The natural capital projects were delivered in collaboration with SNH, SEPA, Scottish Land and Estate and the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital.

Terrestrial Biodiversity

7.2.9 Scotland has an expansive range of terrestrial habitats and land uses consisting of both natural and cultivated and artificial broad habitat types. The habitats most relevant to the SCE assets are uplands, woodlands and forests, and peatlands.


7.2.10 Scotland has 90% of the high mountain habitat in the UK which accommodates some of the best examples of near-natural habitats and wildlife in the northern and remote parts of Europe. The uplands comprise bog and rough grassland, heather moorland, bracken, fen, marsh and swamp, as well as inland rock and montane habitat[81]. Crown Estate Scotland's 37,000 hectares of rural assets are primarily located in upland areas. These include rural land and forestry over the four estates including agricultural tenancies and managed forestry.

7.2.11 The estates are also located in or within the catchment areas of a number of areas designated for their biodiversity, including the Glenlivet estate which spans Ladder Hills (SAC), the River Spey's catchment area (SAC) and the Cairngorms (SAC).

7.2.12 The majority of upland habitat features are considered to be in favourable[82] condition, however some, such as upland bogs have seen a reduction in the proportion of sites in favourable condition between 2010 and 2014[83].

Woodlands and Forests

7.2.13 Woodlands and forests cover 1.4 million hectares or 18% of Scotland's land area and support a wide range of important flora and fauna diversity with most rare and threatened species in Scotland found in and around semi-natural woodland. In relation to wildlife, this habitat type is in a moderately good condition with predicted improvement in the future.

7.2.14 There are a number of SCE assets within this habitat and these are located within a wide range of designated land, including the Dryfe Water SSSI within Applegirth estate, which consists of approximately 6,300 hectares of agricultural, minerals and managed forestry tenancies. The SCE forest estate consists of native woodland and semi-natural birch woodland, as well as alder, aspen, birch and bird cherry. However, oak and ancient Scots pine woodland are scarce.

Wetlands and Peatlands

7.2.15 Wetlands, including peatlands, can be found across Scotland and are a key provider of environmental services such as carbon sequestration and water purification. Scotland's peatlands store approximately 1,600 million tonnes of carbon.

7.2.16 Some of the SCE assets, such as Knapdale Mines Royal, are located within nationally important carbon-rich soils, deep peat, priority peatland habitat or areas likely to be of high conservation value[84]. There are also a number of RAMSAR sites (wetland sites of international importance) including some located within Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management)'s managed areas.

7.2.17 Most of the wetlands which fall within protected sites are in favourable condition, however lowland raised bogs are an exception with nearly 60% of sites in unfavourable condition[85].

Marine Biodiversity

7.2.18 The spatial distribution of Marine Protected Areas and their spatial relation to SCE assets can be seen in Figure 7. The network includes SPAs, SACs, SSSIs and Nature Conservation MPAs (NCMPAs). The Convention for the Protection of Marine Environment to the North-East Atlantic (the 'OSPAR Convention') is the mechanism through which the EU and 15 governments collaborate to protect the marine environment in the North-East Atlantic[86].

7.2.19 Scotland's coastal and offshore waters include several complex habitats including North Sea fan and sponge communities, sea loch egg wrack beds and sea lochs[87]. Scotland's seas are thought to be among the most biologically diverse in the world. These habitats are protected by a number of designations such as SACs, NCMPAs and SPAs, forming the MPA network and covering areas from coastal environments to undersea cliffs. Scotland is home to 24 species of internationally important breeding birds[88] as well as 20 cetacean species protected under the Habitats Directive[89]. There are also a wide range of Priority Marine Features (PMFs) which help conserve and enhance the marine environment[90]. A Strategy for Marine Nature Conservation in Scotland's Seas[91] underpins these PMFs. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) manage a number of aquaculture assets with the aim of ensuring the sustainability of salmon fishing as well as developing the shellfish sector. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) licences seaweed harvesting, fin fish and shellfish farms.

7.3 Population and Human Health

7.3.1 Crown Estate Scotland manages assets across the length and breadth of mainland Scotland, as well as many of its surrounding islands. These assets include resources which provide livelihoods and places for recreation and enjoyment within the upland, coastal and marine environment. In addition, Crown Estate Scotland is responsible for managing retail and office units in central Edinburgh.

Scotland’s population in numbers

Source: National Records of Scotland

7.3.2 Most of Scotland's population and industry is concentrated in the Central Belt and on the East Coast, and primarily in four key city regions (Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen) (Figure 8).

7.3.3 The SCE four rural estates include 507 tenants (116 in Applegirth, 207 in Fochabers, 154 in Glenlivet and 30 in Whitehill). Over recent years, the population of rural Scotland has continued to grow at a faster rate than the rest of the country due to increased accessibility to rural land and inward migration. As SCE assets include tenements and other housing across the four rural estates, this trend is particularly relevant. The four rural estates are located within Dumfries and Galloway (Applegirth), Moray (Glenlivet and Fochabers) and Midlothian (Whitehill) local authority areas. Since 2017, the population of Midlothian has increase by 1.39%, while that of Moray and Dumfries and Galloway has decreased by 0.27%. Both Moray and Midlothian are projected to grow in the next 10 years by 13.3% and 4% respectively, while population in Dumfries and Galloway is projected to decline by 1.5%.

7.3.4 The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD), which identifies small concentrations of multiple deprivation across all of Scotland, shows that the 15% most deprived data zones in Scotland are located predominantly in urban areas, including Glasgow, Dundee, and Edinburgh. These deprived areas are recognised as being more vulnerable to negative impacts due to pre-existing health problems and inequities. The 20% most deprived areas in relation to SCE assets can be seen in Figure 9. A number of SCE aquaculture and other coastal assets, as well as rivers the fishing rights for which Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) own and lease, are located in close proximity to areas of high multiple deprivation, for example on the west coast Glasgow and in the Firth of Forth.

7.3.5 Significant inequalities in levels of obesity persist between those living in the least and most deprived groups in Scotland. Overall, around 32% of adults living in the most deprived areas are classed as obese, compared with 20% of those living in the least deprived areas. Additionally, it is reported that this gap is widening for children. Similarly, the proportion of adults who regularly meet the guidelines for moderate or vigorous physical activity has not changed significantly over the last decade.

7.3.6 A high quality environment with good air and water quality is an important contributor to good health. Access to outdoor recreation facilities can also benefit our health and well-being. In the context of SEA, relevant PPS to population and human health include legislative measures for the improvement of air and water quality and their safeguarding. These include the Drinking Water Directive, Bathing Water Directive and Ambient Air Quality Directive at EU level, as well as national plans such as Cleaner Air for Scotland.

7.3.7 Air quality is important for human health and research has shown that air pollution reduces average life expectancy and can contribute to premature deaths. The majority of Scotland's inhabitants live in urban areas with relatively elevated air pollution levels.

7.3.8 Water quality has seen significant improvement over the last 25 years and the majority of surface and ground waters are in good or high overall condition and continue to improve.

7.3.9 The physical environment is an important factor in influencing human health and wellbeing. Access and utilisation of recreation facilities, green infrastructure and green spaces can provide opportunities for active travel and regular exercise and to help deliver benefits for physical and mental health and well-being.

7.3.10 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) lease land and property within their rural estates with the aim to encourage a wide range of uses, including the provision of public access for recreation such as mountain bike trails. Figure 11 shows the distribution of Scotland's Great Trails and the National Cycle Network in relation to the four rural estates.

7.4 Soil and Geodiversity

7.4.1 Objectives for the protection and enhancement of soils are set at the European and national level. At EU level, the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection establishes common principles for the safeguarding and sustainable use of soils through responsible management and degraded soil restoration measures.

7.4.2 At national level, the common principles are reflected in the Scottish Soil Framework, which sets out a vision for the protection and enhancement of Scotland's soils, while ensuring the balance of environmental, economic and social needs. In addition to this, there are a number of legislative and regulatory provisions which promote the remediation of contaminated land, including the Environment Act 1995 and the Contaminated Land (Scotland) Regulations 2005.

7.4.3 A number of PPS and legislation related to water also have a significant impact on the state of soils as they impact on the contamination, erosion, loss of organic matter and landslides. These include the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009, the Delivering Sustainable Flood Risk Management guidance associated with the Act, Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans. Wider water legislation related to contamination, river basin management and the provision of water services is provided in more detail in section 7.5.

7.4.4 Scotland's peatlands play a key role in regulating atmospheric pollutants, reducing flooding and benefitting biodiversity and due to this have been afforded special protection through the Scotland's National Peatland Plan. The Draft Peatland and Energy Policy Statement further looks to align peatland protection, enhancement and management with energy policy to maximise GHG abatement and deliver multiple benefits.

7.4.5 Scotland has a diverse range of soils, primarily with acidic and organic rich surface layers, ranging from peaty gleys found on undulating hills to humus-iron podzols in the lowlands. Agricultural land is primarily concentrated in the east of Scotland with arable soils particularly vulnerable to wind and water erosion.

7.4.6 Agricultural soils have the potential to hold an estimated 115 Mt, which is equivalent to 22% of total CO2 emissions from Scotland's energy sector. Peatlands are an important carbon sink, storing approximately 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon. Other soils can also act as a sink for GHG. Carbon rich soil is predominantly located in the north-west of Scotland (Figure 13). Blanket bog is the most widespread and semi-natural peatland type in Scotland and contains 15% of the world's peatland habitats. Other peatland types in Scotland include raised bogs and fens which are designated as UK priority habitats.

7.4.7 A large proportion of designated peatlands are in poor condition. A large percentage of upland blanket bogs, lowland raised bogs, and upland fens, marshes and swamps are in unfavourable condition.

7.4.8 The distribution of prime agricultural land and its location in relation to SCE assets is displayed in Figure 12. Several SCE assets stretch over or are in close proximity to areas of agricultural land and peatland soil. These include Glenlivet, Fochabers and Whitehill (Figures 14-16).

7.4.9 Two of the four SCE rural estates (Applegirth and Fochabers) are partially situated on land suitable for prime agriculture (Figure 12). Due to its upland location within the Cairngorms National Park, Glenlivet can be classed as suitable for rough grazing and improved grassland denoting its low agricultural potential. The state of rocks and landforms is stable at known sites, however little is known about the state of geodiversity outside of protected areas.

7.5 Water

7.5.1 As the Plan seeks to influence the management of existing assets, including those relating to aquaculture, moorings, offshore energy generation and recreation, it has the potential to impact the water environment.

7.5.2 The majority of marine SCE assets are located within Scotland's territorial waters (Figure 6) including aquaculture, moorings, energy, communications and infrastructure. Activity relating to offshore renewable energy and gas and carbon capture and storage within Scotland's offshore waters has the potential to impact water quality.

7.5.3 Water environmental objectives are defined by a range of international and national plans, programmes and strategies and aim to protecting and enhancing the state of the water environment by reducing water pollution, minimising the impact of INNS, reducing flood risk and ensuring the sustainable use of water resources. These are presented in Figure 5.

7.5.4 The Marine (Scotland) Act includes provisions for the creation of regional Marine Planning Partnerships and Marine Plans to allow for localised decision- making which reflects regional marine interests. The Clyde Marine Planning Partnership and Shetland Islands Marine Spatial Plan are the first of the 11 regional marine plans to be developed.

7.5.5 Scotland contains a wide range of water bodies, including 12,500 km of rivers and streams, 25,500 lochs, 220 km of canals, and a number of reservoirs and wetlands. Scotland's freshwater network forms 90% of the volume of UK freshwater. Scotland's coast stretches 19,000 km with marine water out to 12 and 200 nautical miles making up Scotland's territorial and offshore waters respectively. This covers a total of 470,000 km2 with the majority of SCE marine assets located within Scotland's territorial waters.

7.5.6 The condition of Scotland's rivers has improved significantly over the last two decades with the majority being in good condition or better. This is also the case for nearly 2/3 of lochs and 80% of groundwater bodies. Scotland's bathing water quality has also improved in over the same period improvement in quality over the same period with more than 80% of waters in good condition or better and fulfilling the necessary classification criteria.

7.5.7 A number of water bodies in Scotland are designated as protected areas for their importance in supporting wildlife conservation, provision of drinking water supply, shellfish harvesting and bathing. There are currently 85 shellfish waters, 86 bathing waters, 5 Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, 231 Marine Protected Areas and a wide range of areas designated for the protection of habitats and species (such as SACs, SPAs and Natura 2000 sites).

7.5.8 Approximately 284,000 homes, businesses and services are vulnerable to flooding from rivers, surface waters and sea with risk increasing in the future. This can damage material assets, pose risks to population and human health through the spread of infectious diseases and also lead to a loss of habitats, resulting from erosion.

7.5.9 97% of Scotland's coastal waters and 85% of estuaries are in good or high environmental condition, and most offshore waters are also in good condition. However, there are localised impacts from commercial fishing, aquaculture, and diffuse pollution which can have a negative impact on local ecosystems. In addition to the number of designations aiming to protect the biodiversity of marine environments, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) sets out a framework for an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities within the marine environment with an aim to achieve a "Good Environmental Status" for all marine environments by 2020.

7.5.10 Scotland has approximately 125,000 km of rivers and 220 km of canals with most of these relatively undisturbed by human activity. These range from highland burns to lowland rivers such as the River Tay.

7.5.11 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) manages 140 river salmon fishing tenancies spanning across 60 rivers in Scotland, including the Findhorn, Stinchar and the River Almond. Most of these are let to angling associations and include the Rotten Calder stretch of the River Clyde, River Avon and River Ayr and Greenock Water. Figure 15 shows the poor potential status of water in close proximity to a number of SCE assets, including aquaculture located within the River Clyde catchment area and near Port William in the south-west of Scotland.

Figure 5: Environmental objectives for water

Figure 5: Environmental objectives for water

7.6 Air

7.6.1 Air quality objectives in Scotland are set to maintain or improve air quality and reduce levels of pollutants harmful to human health and the natural environment, as well as reduce levels of nuisance, such as noise, dust and light pollution. Air quality objectives are set at the European level by Directive 2008/50/EC which sets air quality standards for ground-level ozone (SO2, non-methane VOCs and ammonia), particulate matter (PM), nitrous oxides (NOx), heavy metals and other pollutants, as well as Directive 2016/2284/EU which sets national emission ceilings for certain pollutants responsible for acidification and eutrophication, as well as ground level ozone pollution and fine PM.

7.6.2 At UK level, a number of legislative measures such as the Environment Act, Clean Air Act and the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations provide a regulatory and legal framework for controlling emissions from a wide range of pollutants with the Environmental Act providing the legal basis for the establishment of local air quality management regimes where areas have or are at risk of exceeding legal emissions limits. At national level, the Air Quality Standards (Scotland) Regulations 2016 transpose Directive 2008/50/EC into Scottish law.

7.6.3 Cleaner Air for Scotland sets out a suite of actions for the improvement of air quality in the period 2015 - 2020, ranging from actions to achieve compliance with legal EU emissions limits to implementing a National Low Emission Framework. Currently, a review of the Strategy is taking place.

7.6.4 Wider environmental objectives with a potential to affect air quality in relation to SCE assets include steps to decarbonise the energy sector as part of the Energy Strategy.

7.6.5 As the plan looks to influence asset management, it has the potential to affect air quality through activities such as mining, energy generation and broader infrastructural developments. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) grant leases to commercial mineral operators on their four rural estates, and also hold rights for naturally occurring gold and silver (known as Mines Royal).

7.6.6 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) encourage commercial exploration proposals and development, providing they meet statutory regulations and environmental standards. Mineral extraction activities and resulting dust can contribute to air pollution, including through the release of PM10, PM2.5, SO2 and methane. SCE mineral extraction assets are located primarily in the West of Scotland including Glen Orchy, Glen Lyon, Loch Tay, as well as Alford and Ochills in the East of Scotland. Energy infrastructure which might create transportation and other built asset requirements is located across Scotland's coast and offshore waters with the highest concentration of assets within the 12 nautical mile boundary.

7.6.7 Air quality in Scotland has generally significantly improved since the 1950s, particularly in relation to CO and SO2 with a significant fall in both NO2 and PM10 emissions since 2008. However, in 2017, seven automatic monitoring sites and one site exceeded the annual mean objective for NO2 and PM10 respectively.

7.6.8 There are currently 164 monitoring sites in the UK and 99 in Scotland which record pollutant concentrations, including ground-level ozone, ammonia, NOx, SOx, CO and PM. 14 local authorities have declared a total of 38 Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs), which are mainly located in densely populated urban areas (see Figure 18 and 19). There are currently no AQMAs within Local Authority areas containing SCE assets.

7.6.9 Key drivers of air pollution include fine particulates from the combustion of fuels (e.g. from road transport, biomass and waste disposal), as well as from other energy generation and industry, such as agriculture.

7.6.10 In addition, ships and other marine vessels, release a significant proportion of total anthropogenic air pollutants, including NOx, SOx, PM and VOCs. These are particularly prominent in areas with major ports, however as emissions from other sources decline, shipping emissions will become more and more significant. Scotland is becoming an increasingly popular cruise destination with Cruise Scotland, the cruise industry guide, estimating a 15% increase in the number of cruise ships in the port of Cromarty Firth this August (109 ships in 2019 compared to 93 in 2018) . This increasing number of cruise ships could put further pressure on port areas already suffering from low air quality.

7.6.11 Shipping and other marine vessel emissions are particularly relevant to SCE assets as Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) owns, leases and manages a large proportion of the seabed and infrastructure within both Scotland's coastal and offshore waters.

7.7 Climatic Factors

7.7.1 Scotland has a temperate climate characterised by cool summers and mild winters, and an average of over 1,500 mm of rainfall annually[92]. Over the last century, the UK and Scotland's climate has begun to evolve as a result of anthropogenic GHG emissions. Emissions by sector are shown in the inset.

Climatic factors in numbers

*please note that these do not add to 100% due to the negative contribution of forestry as a carbon sink

Sources: Met Office and Scottish Government

7.7.2 In addition to the changes shown in the inset, climate change has caused an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, with nine of the ten warmest years on record occurring since 2002.

7.7.3 In 2017, total actual source emissions in Scotland were 40.5 MtCO2e - a 46.8% decrease since the baseline year (1990) and a 3.3% decrease from 2016 emissions. In 2017, forestry was the biggest carbon sink[93].

7.7.4 The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 (the 2009 Act)[94] set the statutory framework for GHG emissions reductions in Scotland, with targets for reductions of 80% by 2050, with an interim 2020 target of 42%. These targets are more ambitious than those for the UK as a whole, or the EU.

7.7.5 In March 2017, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published their advice on the potential level of ambition for new Scottish climate change targets[95]. This advice informed the development of the 'Consultation on proposals for a new Climate Change Bill'[96]. This Consultation Paper set out a range of proposals for updating the 2009 Act, including increasing the level of ambition of the 2050 target to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 90% from the baseline. The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill[97] was introduced into Parliament on 23 May 2018 with headline targets for reducing all greenhouse gases from baselines of 56% reduction for 2020, 66% for 2030, 78% for 2040, and 90% for 2050. Further advice was published by the CCC on 2 May 2019[98]. This recommended that the Scottish Government could achieve net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045, if the UK has a target of net-zero emissions by 2050. In response, the Scottish Government put forward amendments to the Climate Change Bill to update the Bill targets to 70% by 2030, 90% by 2040 and net-zero emissions by 2045. These were accepted by the Scottish Parliament's Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee at Stage 2 reading of the Bill on 18 June. The Bill also includes a requirement for Ministers to seek regular advice as to whether the targets are still appropriate.

7.7.6 Developed in 2009, the Climate Change Delivery Plan[99] set out the high level measures required in each sector to meet Scotland's statutory climate change targets, looking forward to 2020 and beyond. This has been taken forward following the 2009 Act through the development of a series of Reports on Policies and Proposals (RPPs).

7.7.7 The Climate Change Plan: the Third Report on Policies and Proposals 2018-2032[100], published on 28 February 2018, builds on the previous RPP reports, takes forward these ambitions and explores opportunities to further reduce Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2032. The Climate Change Plan sets out Scotland's ambitious approach to mitigating the effects of climate change across a range of sectors, including transport, housing and energy, alongside provisions for the restoration of degraded peat and afforestation to increase Scotland's carbon sequestration capacity. and sets out the path to a low carbon economy. The Scottish Government has committed to updating the Climate Change Plan within 6 months of the Climate Change Bill receiving Royal Assent. The Scottish Energy Strategy: The future of energy in Scotland[101] was informed by the development of the Climate Change Plan.

7.7.8 Section 53 of the 2009 Act placed a duty on Ministers to produce an adaptation programme to address the risks identified for Scotland under Section 56 of the 2008 Act. Scotland's first statutory Climate Change Adaption Programme to address the risks in the 2012 UK Climate Change Risk Assessment[102]. was published in 2014[103]. The Second Scottish Climate Change Adaption Programme 2019-2024: A Consultation Draft[104], builds on the work of the first Programme to address the impacts identified for Scotland by the 2017 UK Climate Change Risk Assessment[105] as well as the Evidence Report Summary for Scotland[106]. The finalised second adaptation programme is due to be published later in 2019. Both Programmes note that adaptation and resilience of strategic transport networks to cope with the effects of climate change is vital to ensure the continued health of the Scottish economy and the safety and well-being of people and communities accessing lifeline services.

7.7.9 In November 2016 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement came into force[107]. The Agreement sets out goals to limit global warming to well below 2oC, and to pursue further efforts to limit it to 1.5oC. The Agreement also covers a range of other issues such as mitigation through reducing emissions, adaptation and loss and damage.

7.7.10 The Scottish Energy Strategy: The future of energy in Scotland[108] draws together existing Scottish energy policies and new ambitions within a single overarching Strategy, and sets a long term vision for the energy system in Scotland. The Strategy notes that future transport needs will be met substantially through electricity or alternative fuels, presenting new infrastructure challenges and new patterns of behaviour for users. It also sets out a new 2030 "all-energy" target for the equivalent of 50% of Scotland's heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources.

7.7.11 Scotland's soils and peatlands are the biggest terrestrial store of carbon in Scotland with peatlands alone holding around 1.6 billion tonnes of carbon[109]; 60 times more than carbon stored by trees and other vegetation[110]. Inshore and offshore waters also store a significant resource of blue carbon, including 18 (MtC) or organic carbon stores in the top 10 cm of sediments across Scotland's seas[111] 9.4 Mt organic carbon and 47.8 Mt inorganic carbon are contained within surface inshore sediments of SACS and NCMPAs and the habitats they support[112].

7.7.12 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) leases virtually all seabed inwards of 12 nautical miles and this covers approximately 750 fish farming sites with other aquaculture activities including the leasing of seaweed, shellfish and mussel farms. These include shellfish aquaculture leases in the Firth of Lorn and Loch Linnhe, and fin fish in Loch Tuath[113]. Coastal and aquaculture assets have the highest concentration in the West of Scotland where sea level rise is expected to be the lowest with Shetland and the south of the UK experiencing the highest sea level rise[114] Figure 23. The productivity and boundaries of aquaculture sites could be impacted by the effects of climate change as a result of sea level rise and its impact on shoreline morphology through coastal erosion and an increase in extreme weather events. Changes such as these can significantly alter the suitability of sites for fish farming, as well as lead to an increased emergence and virulence of diseases, parasites and pathogens found in fish farms[115]. Figure 22 shows modelled coastal erosion for 2050 with predicted erosion primarily along the east coast of Scotland and alongside island coastlines. This is in close proximity to a number of SCE assets ranging from aquaculture to energy infrastructure.

7.7.13 In addition to the above natural assets, built infrastructure is also under risk of the increasing effects of climate change which will continue to alter Scotland's coastline[116] . These include mooring sites, which can be affected by sea level rise and coastal erosion[117].

7.7.14 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) is also responsible for the leasing of rights to renewable energy development and CO2 storage up to 200 nautical miles from shore. These will play an integral part in the low carbon energy transition[118] and include the Acorn Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) infrastructure based at the St Fergus Gas Terminal on the Aberdeenshire coast. In relation to wind turbine developments, climate change can have an impact on wind power generation through increased seasonal wind variability and wave pattern changes, which could impact site suitability for future wind farm developments[119]. A number of other built assets could be affected by an increase in extreme weather events, including pipelines and broadband cables such as the Northern Lights cable off the coast of Orkney.

7.7.15 Globally, sea level is projected to continue to rise up to and beyond 2100 due to GHG-related thermal expansion, and loss of mass from ice sheets and glaciers[120]. This will have strong regional patterns and by 2100 sea level rise in Edinburgh is expected to be between 0.08 - 0.49 m and 0.30 - 0.90 m for the low and high emissions scenarios respectively[121]. It is also expected that a significant increase in the occurrence of sea level extremes, such as storminess and storm surges, by 2100 is also likely.

7.7.16 Changes to temperature and rainfall patterns and intensity are affecting woodlands in Scotland. While productivity is likely to increase due to warmer summers where nitrogen and water are not limiting factors, a warmer climate can contribute to the spread of INNS and pathogens, contributing to habitat fragmentation and further impacting wider ecosystem services and biodiversity. SCE forests are currently composed of a mixture of semi-natural woodland and conifer plantations. However, a changing climate is expected to alter the suitability distribution and growth rates of a number of species[122].

7.8 Cultural Heritage

7.8.1 Scotland's historic and cultural heritage environmental objectives are set by a range of policies, programmes and strategies. At EU level, the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (the Valetta Treaty) protects archaeological sites and heritage relating to past human activity both on land and in water. The treaty also sets out provisions for the creation of archaeological reserves and protection of excavated sites.

7.8.2 At national level, the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014 expands on existing provisions for ancient monuments and listed buildings and amends provisions by the Environment (Amendment) (Scotland) Act 2011, Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 and Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997. It also creates new provisions for the designation of battlefields, gardens and other landscapes of historic significance.

7.8.3 In marine environments, historic Marine Protected Areas (HMPAs) are designations created through the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and later amended through the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. These ensure the protection of historic heritage in marine and coastal environments.

7.8.4 The Historic Environment Policy Statement (HEPS) works in conjunction with the Our Place in Time: The Historic Environment Strategy for Scotland to set out a policy framework for the protection and enhancement of Scotland's historic environment. HEPS wants to ensure that decision-making affecting the historic environment in Scotland, such as funding decisions, estate management, as well as agriculture, energy and planning policy, is done in a way which promotes and protects Scotland's historic heritage.

7.8.5 Provisions for the care of the historic environment and cultural heritage are also more widely set within the context of the National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy.

Terrestrial Historic Environment

7.8.6 There are 35 Crown properties in Scotland of which eight are buildings in good condition. These include Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle, Argyll's Lodging, Blackness Castle, Linlithgow Palace, Fort Charlotte, Dunblane Cathedral and Glasgow Cathedral.

7.8.7 Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) also owns and leases buildings on 39 - 41 George Street in the centre of Edinburgh which fall within the Edinburgh World Heritage Site Boundary (WH2) and New Town Conservation Area. (Figure 20).

7.8.8 The Glenlivet Estate contains a number of listed buildings and sites, including Bridgend of Glenlivet, Glenlivet Distillery, Battle of Glenlivet Battlefield. A number of designated historic environments fall within the Fochabers Estate including Tugnet Salmon Fishing Station (listed building); Prehome Chapel House (listed building); Cowiemuir Cairn and Stone Circle (scheduled monument); Leitcheston Dovecot (listed building) and Gordon Castle "garden and designated landscape. Figure 21 shows historic environment designations within Glenlivet.

7.8.9 In considering the land and property that Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) leases to tenants, the majority of historic sites in Scotland (between 90 and 95%) are undesignated. These are included within the 320,000 records contained by the Canmore database. Despite not being designated, these are of historic and cultural importance to local communities.

7.8.10 The condition of undesignated historic heritage is largely unknown, while that of designated sites is generally moderate with site variation. In 2017, 68% of pre-1919 buildings were in any critical disrepair, while 5% were in critical, urgent and extensive disrepair. The prevalence of disrepair in critical elements is found to be associated with the age of construction with dwellings built post - 1964 having lower rates of disrepair. 83% of scheduled monuments are considered to be in optimal or generally satisfactory condition and 750 historic buildings on the Buildings at Risk Register (BARR) have been saved between 2009 and 2018 with more than 200 others in the process of being restored.

Marine Historic Environment

7.8.11 Underwater historic heritage includes the remains of aircraft, sea vessels and items lost overboard but little is known about underwater heritage in comparison to terrestrial records. Underwater heritage can be located in the water column or on the seabed or beneath sediment. Marine heritage also includes remains of structures which were built under or partially suspended in water, such as fish traps, crannogs, piers and bridges.

7.8.12 There are eight historic MPAs in Scotland's waters, including listed lighthouses and scheduled monuments. Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) owns and manages assets off the coast of the Orkney Islands in close proximity to the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, which contains sites such as Skara Brae and Maeshowe , and Scapa Flow which has a number of German High Seas Fleet wrecks belonging to Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management). All of the historical MPAs are also within the 12 nautical mile boundary where Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) has the right to issue leases which might impact on these. Figure 20 shows HMPAs in relation to SCE assets.

7.8.13 There are also a number of historic designations within salmon river fishing SCE asset areas such as 3 scheduled monuments and 37 listed buildings in Glasgow's Coatbridge North Ward where Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) leases the River Clyde and North Calder Water salmon fishing rights.

7.9 Landscape and Visual

7.9.1 Scotland is internationally renowned for its varied and dramatic landscapes including impressive mountain ranges, broad plateaus, expansive lowlands, and striking coastal features. Many of these landscapes are the result of ancient glacial and periglacial activity as well as changes in sea level. The primary classifications are the Central Lowlands, the Highlands and Islands to the north and west, and the Southern Uplands. Situated among these natural features are the many iconic manmade landmarks and townscapes that help to give Scotland its reputation as a tourist destination.

7.9.2 The European Landscape Convention recognises the importance of landscapes for the cultural, social and economic development of Member States and aims to safeguard these through protection, management and planning considerations.

7.9.3 At the national level there are a range of plans and programmes relating to landscapes, including the SNH Landscape Policy Framework, Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, SNH Natural Heritage Futures national prospectuses. At the regional and local levels, there are a range of plans, such as Local Development Plans, National Park Management Plans and other local landscape plans and initiatives focusing on preserving and enhancing sensitive landscapes. Landscapes of the highest quality have been designated and include 40 National Scenic Areas (NSA) and two National Parks.

7.9.4 Wild land character is displayed in some of Scotland's more remote upland, mountain and coastal areas, which are very sensitive to any form of intrusive human activity. Wild land areas as shown on SNH's Wild Land Areas Map (2014) are not a designation, however Scottish Planning Policy recognises these areas as 'nationally important'. In some circumstances development may be appropriate on wild land, where any significant effects on the qualities of these areas can be substantially overcome by siting, design or other mitigation.

7.9.5 There is a high concentration of wild land and National Scenic Areas (NSAs) along the west coast of Scotland, where a number of SCE aquaculture and other coastal assets are located, and in the Highlands (Figure 10). The Glenlivet rural estate also stretches across areas of the Cairngorms National Park.

7.9.6 Scotland's landscapes have evolved over thousands of years as a consequence of natural and cultural forces, and they are still changing. In general landscape change has not resulted in any types of landscape character being lost or significantly altered despite important changes to some physical elements of landscapes resulting in observable trends. Regional and local landscapes are becoming less distinct as a result of more similarity in building form, settlement patterns, and agricultural practices. For example, the development of renewable energy technology such as wind farms is affecting the extensive views and strong natural character of many of Scotland's rural landscapes. Similarly, in agriculture there has been a focus on maximising yields which has resulted in a move towards a monoculture, at the expense of a more diverse landscape of field types and hedgerows.

7.9.7 The seascape surrounding terrestrial Scotland is also impacted by the development of marine aquaculture. Aquaculture development is predominantly located along the western and northern coasts of mainland Scotland, as well as around many of the offshore islands. The continual development of marine aquaculture has the potential to impact coastal character and visual amenity, if poorly sited or designed. In addition to aquaculture development, energy generation development, including on and offshore windfarms can impact landscape and seascape if poorly sited and designed.

7.9.8 Scotland's National Marine Plan recognises the importance of landscape and geodiversity features beyond site designations and considers them for their scenic and geological values.

7.9.9 Climate change is expected to lead to extensive landscape change across Scotland with the greatest changes likely to occur in lowland and coastal areas where human population is highest. Direct impacts are likely as a result of changing temperatures and patterns of precipitation, weather events, and sea level change. However, mitigation and adaptation measures are expected to have a greater influence on both Scotland's landscapes and quality of life than the direct effects of climate change[123].

7.9.10 The coast and foreshore are under many pressures particularly from climate change, rising sea level and coastal erosion. These areas are also very important recreational resources, which is dependent on the landscape and environmental quality of these areas[124].

7.9.11 Development and changes in land use associated with urban expansion associated infrastructure, is also a key pressure and the distinctive landscape settings of many towns and cities is being lost as a result of settlement expansion and the need for associated infrastructure. Measures that seek to reduce the need to travel, manage demand and encourage modal shift, could in turn reduce the need for new infrastructure and consequently reduce the likelihood of disturbance to the landscape posed by new construction[125].



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