6. Assessing Impact
Business and regulation
A partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment has been carried out to analyse whether any of the proposed policies are likely to increase or reduce the costs and burdens placed on businesses, the public sector and voluntary and community organisations. This was published alongside the consultation paper.
Question 49: Please tell us about any potential costs or savings that may occur as a result of the proposals, and any increase or reduction in the burden of regulation for any sector. Please be as specific as possible.
6.1 51 (24%) respondents answered this question with general or specific potential costs or savings. Several more commented that they did not have the necessary information on which to base a view.
Views on potential costs
6.2 The most common view was that devolving management to local level would inevitably result in costs, at least in the short term, due to having to establish new management structures, setting up administrative processes, retraining, gaining expertise, and so on. Some respondents considered local management could be inefficient; others envisaged loss of economies of scale resulting in increased costs.
6.3 Other potential increased costs identified by respondents were:
- Complex processing of wayleave requests with routes traversing several different jurisdictions.
- Duplication and additional burdens for developers having to liaise with several different managers of assets.
- Duplication and additional burdens for representative bodies who need to engage with a greater number of management bodies.
- Over-stretched local authorities who may not have the staff and skills to manage assets, particularly those marine-based.
- Uncertainties over new arrangements putting off potential investors.
- Ensuring commercially sensitive data is not released given that Freedom of Information legislation will apply to the Crown Estate in Scotland.
Views on potential savings
6.4 Local authorities were largely represented amongst those envisaging potential savings. In particular, some predicted opportunities for greater streamlining of the consent/licensing arrangements, with speedier and more responsive decision-making under one-stop-shop arrangements.
6.5 Others anticipated gradual efficiencies emerging as local management structures develop according to good governance procedures, and expertise is gained.
6.6 A few respondents identified local employment and enterprise opportunities as potentially reducing costs; improved infrastructure supported by re-investment of revenue into local areas was also highlighted as providing potential for reduced costs over the longer term.
The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 ensures those public plans that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment are assessed and measures to prevent or reduce adverse effects are sought, where possible, prior to the main consultation and implementation of the proposal.
Question 50: Please tell us about any potential impacts, either positive or negative, you feel any of the proposals contained in this consultation may have on the environment. Please be as specific as possible.
6.7 68 respondents (32%) provided relevant comments.
Views on potential positive impacts
6.8 The most common view expressed by around one-third of respondents, across a range of sectors, was that management of assets at local level will bring a sense of ownership and strong stewardship of assets, leading to better environmental management. A few respondents commented that local managers will bring local knowledge and environmental sensitivity to the task, impacting positively on the environment.
6.9 Another recurring view was that the development of offshore, low carbon energy will align with climate change strategy and benefit the environment.
6.10 A few respondents considered that devolution of management will improve the stewardship of fisheries.
6.11 Two natural heritage and conservation bodies identified potential for positive impacts arising from a change in focus from managing assets on a commercial basis to wider considerations, and re-investment of revenue in assets.
Views on potential negative impacts
6.12 Fewer respondents identified potential negative impacts.
6.13 The most common view expressed by several respondents from a range of sectors was that fragmentation of management could lead to inconsistent and sometimes conflicting approaches to stewardship of assets, risking potentially negative environmental impacts.
6.14 A few respondents were concerned that devolution could risk short term exploitation of assets with profit taking precedence over long term sustainability of the assets.
6.15 A few respondents identified a risk of structures being left on the seabed following completion of projects; one individual suggested that mining activities could result in pollution and disfigurement of the landscape; a leisure and tourism respondent considered that the proposals risked potential loss of visual resources and access to areas for recreation if industry exerts undue influence on local decisions.
The Scottish Government has a legal duty to consider the impact of policies on people who may be differently affected in relation to the "protected characteristics" under the Equality Act 2010 of: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation.
Depending on the consultation outcome, there could be a change of manager of Crown Estate functions, with local authorities or community bodies taking on functions. Where functions are transferred to local authorities, existing equality duties will apply. Where functions are transferred to a community body, it is likely that a national framework approach would govern such arrangements and any obligations with regards to equality groups would be considered as part of that.
Question 51: Are there any likely impacts the proposals contained in this consultation may have on particular groups of people, with reference to the "protected characteristics" listed above? Please be as specific as possible.
6.16 This question received very few responses other than from respondents who stated that they did not consider that the proposals would impact particularly on groups of people with "protected characteristics".
6.17 One respondent suggested that naturists who have protected characteristics could be affected by any moves to restrict their lifestyles in rural and coastal areas; a few others considered that devolution to local management could, potentially, lead to greater respect towards, and inclusion of, those with protected characteristics.
A Privacy Impact Assessment will be conducted to ascertain whether any of the proposed policies will have an impact on the privacy of individuals.
Question 52: Please tell us about any potential impacts upon the privacy of individuals that may arise as a result of any of the proposals contained in this consultation. Please be as specific as possible.
6.18 Very few respondents identified any potential impacts upon the privacy of individuals that may arise as a result of the proposals in the consultation. One individual suggested that local management could lead to overall greater transparency, which would be beneficial.
6.19 Two individuals suggested that care should be taken over protecting information about tenants' rents under devolved management arrangements.
6.20 Another individual considered that greater access to the foreshore could lead to privacy issues for those whose residences which are next to the foreshore.
6.21 One commercial body suggested that the proposals could lead to a significant loss of confidentiality of commercially sensitive information; however, a community group cautioned that issues of commercial sensitivity should not "trump" wider interests of the local community.