Written evidence submitted by the Scottish
The Crown Estate in Scotland is substantial,
including 36,000 hectares of rural land, split into five estates,
mixed office and retail property and around half of the foreshore
and almost all of the seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial
limit. The revenue from this property is paid to the Treasury.
The Scotland Act includes a specific reservation
of the management of the Crown Estate which limits the engagement
of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government in respect
of the Estate and of the Crown Estate Commissioners.
For some years there has been concern in Scotland,
largely from marine users, about whether the management of the
Crown Estate in Scotland was sufficiently attuned to Scottish
The Crown Estate has recently sought to increase
its engagement with Scottish interests. The Scottish Government
now has observer status on the Crown Estate Scottish stakeholder
group and has also been working in partnership on a number of
projects, particularly on marine issues. The role of the marine
estate is particularly important because of the substantial wave,
wind and tidal resources in the waters around Scotland.
The position of the Crown Estate was highlighted
in the Scottish Government White Paper "Your Scotland Your
voice; a National conversation". http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2009/11/26155932/0.
In particular, this highlighted that revenues collected from Scottish
coastal businesses by the Crown Estate bring very little visible
benefit to Scotland.
The Commission on Scottish Devolution recommended
that the United Kingdom Government should consult Scottish Ministers
and more actively exercise powers of direction under the Crown
Estate Act 1961. The Commission also proposed that the appointment
of a Scottish Crown Estate Commissioner should be made following
formal consultation with Scottish Ministers. These recommendations
have not yet been implemented.
The effectiveness of The Crown Estate Commissioners
in rising to the challenge of developing renewable energy in the
Marine Estate is of high strategic importance to the Scottish
Government. One of the Scottish Government's key priorities is
the development of a successful renewable energy industryunderpinned
by the enormous natural resource that exists in Scotland and around
its coastline. Ambitious targets have been set to meet 50% of
Scotland's electricity demand and 20% of primary energy demand
from renewable resources by 2020.
Although onshore wind accounts for much of Scotland's
existing installed renewable energy capacity, offshore wind and
marine renewable energy will play an increasingly important role
in the years up to and beyond 2020. Scotland is estimated to possess
25% of Europe's offshore wind and tidal resource and 10% of its
wave energy resource which provides significant potential for
harnessing renewable energy.
In terms of renewable development, to date,
the Scottish Government's principal involvement with The Crown
Estate has centred on activities relating to the Round 3 and Scottish
Territorial Waters offshore wind zones, as well as the marine
leasing round in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area.
Generally, the Scottish Government, Marine Scotland
and the economic development agencies have developed a positive
and constructive working relationship with the Crown Estate.
A good example is the work that is being taken
forward through the Pentland Firth Coordination Committee. The
Pentland Firth Coordination Committee is led jointly by the Crown
Estate, Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise,
Highlands Council and Orkney Islands Council. The Committee is
focussed on successful delivery of projects with lease awards
comprising 700 MW of installed wave and tidal energy capacity
in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters area. Therefore, the interest
of the Committee is primarily on identifying and addressing barriers
to the development of these marine renewable projects to allow
these projects to deliver to their project plans. Good progress
is already being made and this is largely due to the high level
of cooperation and joined up working amongst the Pentland Firth
Coordination Committee partners and their efforts in engaging
with a broad range of interested stakeholders.
Given the fragile coastal economies in many
parts of Scotland and the competition for use of marine space,
it is important that wider socio-economic benefits from marine
energy are seen as fair and equitable. However it remains the
case that the administration of the Crown Estate gives the highest
priority to revenue generation and appreciation of assets in the
short and medium terms and this can limit the readiness of the
Estate to support activities which have longer paybacks and returns
are less certain.
The Crown Estate has taken a very constructive,
approach to supporting the development of marine renewables. But
there are issues on the status of activities which improve sustainability,
against that of other economic activities. This could have the
unfortunate implication of constraining the progress of emerging
industries, which have huge potential, such as wave and tidal
energy but where the business case is less robust. The Scottish
Government believes that a stronger focus on sustainable development
would be a more appropriate basis for the approach to the exploitation
of these national assets, given our international commitments
on climate change.