Supporting impact - Scottish Crown Estate net revenue: local authority use and insights

Net Revenues from the Scottish Crown Estate have been distributed to coastal Local Authorities for the benefit of coastal communities since 2019. This study was commissioned as part of the review process for the first two rounds of distribution of Scottish Crown Estate net revenues.

Ambition for net revenue distribution

The distribution of net revenues sits within the wider ongoing process of community empowerment and devolution. The Scottish Government has committed to bringing communities closer to decision-making including the management of the Scottish Crown Estate with the launch in 2021 of the transfer and delegation process, enabling direct community management of these assets.

The Scottish Government has highlighted major cross-cutting policy themes that are priorities for the net revenue fund. These include a Just Transition to Net Zero, the Green Recovery and the Blue Economy (see Section 2 for further discussion).

In keeping with the ongoing empowerment agenda, Scottish Ministers have been deliberate in providing only limited guidance to recipients of net revenues on the expectations, constraints and focus of spending to support local decision making. The guidance was provided via a series of communications with Local Authorities, which we have summarised below, and is described in more detail in Annex 2.


The overarching principle is that funding has to be used for the benefit of coastal communities.


Each local council has the responsibility to determine how to distribute the funds to achieve this objective, including who will benefit and the level of benefit. However, Scottish Ministers will provide guidance and expectations to assist decision-making.


  • The funds distributed annually should be used within the financial year, with exceptions for the initial year of distribution and the years disrupted by the pandemic
  • The funding should be prioritised towards new initiatives to maximise value
  • This is provided as revenue, but can be used for capital expenditure where appropriate
  • Consultative approaches should be considered before distribution

Monitoring and evaluation

  • Any reporting requirements will be proportionate to the revenue
  • Each council should be able to demonstrate the benefit to the communities of the distribution of funds
  • Each council should ensure that the distribution of funds is transparent and accountable to the communities and to government



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