Net revenues from the Scottish Crown Estate have been distributed to Local Authorities for the benefit of local communities since 2019. This study was commissioned by the Crown Estate Strategy Unit (CESU) of Scottish Government's Marine Scotland Directorate, as part of the review process for the first two rounds of distribution of Crown Estate net revenues.
This study has been conducted as our society, and every element of government within it, is wrestling with a succession of global challenges. On top of the existing climate and nature emergencies, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on our existing social and economic systems, which is reflected in the responses collated within the report. However, the need for community and government at all levels to respond to these emergencies has not reduced, nor has the importance of a place-based, coordinated and efficient use of resources. This report is therefore not only a reflection of the previous use of Scottish Crown Estate net revenues, but also a consideration of the lessons learned to provide insights to driving future impact.
This study is reported in two main parts:
Section 1 explores the background and context of net revenues, considers the drivers behind decisions around how net revenues are spent and explores lessons that can be noted.
Section 2 is set out as insights derived from the research and explores ways to scale the impact of the net revenues, how to foster innovation, and how to best unlock the impact of collective action.
The distribution of net revenues from the Scottish Crown Estate to Local Authorities is designated for the benefit of coastal communities. The first two rounds (2017-2018 and 2018-2019 revenues) distributed more than £16,895,000 to Local Authorities in Scotland, and each adopted a unique, place-based approach to the use and distribution of net revenues. Projects ranged from the small-scale and community-led approaches, such as beach cleans and wildlife gardens, to large-scale infrastructure projects such as coastal flood defences.
Feedback from Local Authorities highlight the benefits of flexible, large-scale (for some) regular monies that can be used for a variety of community priorities. The study also highlights some of the potential future considerations for net revenues distribution, including the value of future income certainty, further support and guidance on increasing impact, and continued proportionate reporting.
Overall, net revenues have and will continue to offer an exciting opportunity to achieve community-driven environmental and socio-economic outcomes. There is considerable scope for future rounds to move towards a greater contribution to national priorities around green recovery, blue economy and a just transition to net zero, through larger-scale cross-border approaches, leverage and innovation.