5. Policy and Criteria
5.1. While the comments on the policy and criteria did not directly address the proposals on establishing interim body of the consultation paper, they have been included here for completeness: The responses demonstrate an overwhelming general level agreement (with one exception) with the criteria and proposal for establishing an interim body, independent from the Scottish Ministers, as a single entity, maintaining business continuity. There are some specific issues arising from the responses:
- The criteria should be flexible to respond to changing political, cultural and economic landscape.
- Recognise importance of on-going relationships and collaboration with rest of UK Crown Estate, other UK bodies and Scottish agencies.
- Proposals for the interim body should be accompanied by a statement of management objectives.
RESPONSE 1: The work to seek views on the proposed long-term framework for management of Crown Estate assets provides an opportunity to review the criteria. We see merit in exploring the potential for a Memorandum of Understanding or similar arrangements with the manager of Crown Estate assets in other parts of the UK. Management objectives will be considered further as part of the development of the corporate planning arrangements for the new interim body and the forthcoming consultation will seek views on the main objectives for the future.
5.3. Community input
- Early involvement of communities and community input to be extended to include communities of interest.
RESPONSE 2: The request for early involvement of communities can be achieved without legislation and the consultation paper included proposals to seek to include opportunities for direct representation of community interests on the interim Board. The consultation paper stated that "the appointment of the board provides new opportunities for community interests to be represented."
5.4. Maintaining a commercial approach
- 'Good management' to embed principles of sustainable development and environmental stewardship.
- Would like specific directions to be given as to management purposes specifically: (a) 'good management of our land, marine environment and other natural resources'; and (b) 'an opportunity to ensure that decisions on the use of Crown Estate assets in Scotland are more transparent, and new processes for decision-making are put in place to take account of the priorities of Scotland and which meet the needs of the Scottish people and local communities be addressed', perhaps using Ministerial power.
RESPONSE 3: We have to maintain the commercial approach during the interim arrangements due to the duties in the Crown Estate Act 1961 and there is also a duty in the act to have regard to the requirements of good management. The existing legal framework therefore requires decisions to be taken with due regard to good management and enables the principles of sustainable development and environmental stewardship to be followed. The draft Order stipulates that the interim body must operate in a way which is transparent and accountable.
- Request for pilots in the three wholly island areas, including a pilot initiative for devolving management and revenues for marine estate to community landowners in the Outer Hebrides. Proposals should not constrain or compromise the potential for a pilot scheme in respect of the three island authorities.
RESPONSE 4: Scottish Ministers are having on-going discussions with the three island authorities on the possibility of pilot arrangements for enhancing local management of Crown Estate assets within the context of the legislative framework that will exist from the point of transfer until the Scottish Parliament has reformed the legislative framework for the Crown Estate in Scotland.
5.6. Funding and resourcing
- Interim arrangements should state intention to continue investments in support of business sectors with grant funding as necessary. The interim body has to be adequately resourced.
RESPONSE 5: The Scottish Ministers will continue to work with the UK Government to ensure the best possible financial deal during the devolution process of the Crown Estate.
5.7. Operational issues
- Clarification on the working arrangements of the interim body e.g. in relation to development leasing rounds for renewables.
- Establish risk register for assets at the earliest opportunity.
- Confirm whether the interim body becomes part of, or participates in meetings of the Key Agency Group.
- Review and evaluation of the process / review of current planning exemptions and provisions for Crown Estate development.
RESPONSE 6: Further consideration will be given to these proposals in the context of the operational activities of the new body or in developing the new long-term framework.