The Scottish Crown Estate Bill has been introduced into the Scottish Parliament.
“A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to rename Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management); to make provision about the management of the Scottish Crown Estate; and for connected purposes.”
On Wednesday 24th January 2018 Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Land Reform in the Scottish Government said:
“This is a significant moment for Scotland and is the first ever Bill on the Scottish Crown Estate. Building on the work of the Smith Commission, this Bill proposes, for the first time, new powers for Scottish Ministers to change who manages Scottish Crown Estate assets, and opens up the possibility of local authorities and communities taking control of the management of those assets.”
What is the Crown Estate?
“The Crown Estate is a collection of property, rights and interests owned by Her Majesty in right of the Crown. “
It is managed by the Crown Estate Commissioners.
The Crown owns out to 12 nautical miles of the seabed except where this has been transferred to a third party. It also owns 50% of the 18,000 km length of Scotland’s foreshore with the exception of areas owned under Udal law or by a third party. In addition as a landowner it has 37,000 hectares.
The Bill is at Stage 1 making its way through the relevant committees. If enacted it will allow local communities more control over the management of the Crown Estate.
The Islands Bill which has been reported in several articles in The Orkney News does not cover the Crown Estate as this is being dealt with in this separate legislation. The 3 Islands Authorities were all of the view that management and revenue from the Crown Estate should all be devolved to the islands.
The Bill states that the ownership of the Crown Estate is “Her Majesty” and as such management “does not own the assets, but the revenue from the Scottish Crown Estate is to be paid into the Scottish Consolidated Fund”.
“Discussions are continuing with the three island councils on a possible pilot of local management of some or all of Scottish Crown Estate assets. While no final decisions have been taken, it is anticipated that pilots will assist the Scottish Ministers in reaching final decisions on implementation of the Bill as soon as possible.” Policy Memorandum
Roseanna Cunningham said:
“The Estate consists of a diverse portfolio, including thousands of hectares of rural land, half of Scotland’s foreshore, urban property and seabed leasing rights for activities such as renewable energy. That is why this Bill recognises that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is not practical, laying the foundation for changes in the management of individual assets.
“I believe strongly in maximising the benefits of the Crown Estate for our communities and the country as a whole, while ensuring assets are well maintained and managed, with high standards of openness and accountability.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame