Rents for Scottish shellfish producers are to be reduced by an average of 15% from January 2010. The decision follows an independent review carried out on behalf of The Crown Estate, which also set the standard lease term at 25 years from 2010.
Alex Adrian, Offshore Operations Manager (Scotland) for The Crown Estate said: “The shellfish industry plays a critically important role in the economic well-being of communities around Scotland’s coasts. We will be adopting all the recommendations contained in the review, as they will help address the challenges faced by the industry and encourage confidence and participation in the sector”.
The review was carried out by James Barr Limited in consultation with industry, regulatory authorities as well as The Crown Estate. David Scott, a shellfish industry expert based at Stirling University also assisted.
The review sets out shellfish farm lease terms and conditions for the next five years. The recommendations, which The Crown Estate believes will strengthen the sector, include:
• Rents will reduce by an average of 15% across all species sectors including mussels, scallops and oysters
• Leases started after January 1, 2010 will be for a standard term of 25 years instead of 15 years
• The lease agreement will formalise assignation rights, subject to landlord’s consent
• The start-up discount for new leases will be extended to cover the first four years of an agreement, to take account of planning application fees that now apply, beginning with 0% in the first year and rising in increments of 25% year on year
• Rents will be calculated based on the metre length of consented equipment
Other changes take in issues around multiple species rents and multiple equipment discounts. The outer island discount will also be maintained under the new proposals but will reduce in phases over two years from its current level of 20% to 10%.
Commenting on the review, Walter Speirs, Chairman of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers said: “ASSG is very pleased with the outcome of the recent Crown Estate review of rents. All of our concerns have been addressed, to our satisfaction. This should give our industry the opportunity to expand further, with increased security of tenure provided by the longer term leases. It demonstrates quite clearly the commitment of the Crown estate to facilitating growth in the shellfish sector.”
Notes to editors:
• The full report and summary of proposals is available online at: http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/shellfish_farming
The Crown Estate
• On behalf of the nation, The Crown Estate manages a highly diverse £6 billion property portfolio across the UK. The value of its holdings in Scotland is £237 million.
• Its objectives, which are laid down by Parliament under The Crown Estate Act 1961, include enhancing the value of the estate and the revenue it produces.
• Every year The Crown Estate pays all of its surplus revenue to the UK Treasury for the benefit of all UK taxpayers: in 2008/09 this was £226.5 million. £15.5 million of this came from Scotland.
• Core values of commercialism, integrity and stewardship, guide and inform all The Crown Estate business activities.
• The Crown Estate is committed to working in partnership with the Scottish Government and members of the Scottish Parliament, local authorities and a wide range of other stakeholders to safeguard the long term interests of the environment and the communities with which we work.
• In Scotland, The Crown Estate includes:
- The marine estate consists of over half the foreshore and the seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit. The Crown Estate has the right to explore and utilise the resources of the UK continental shelf (excluding oil, gas and coal), including the right to license renewable energy in the form of offshore wind, wave and tidal power. We are working with our partners to ensure that Scotland is well placed to take advantage of the benefits that renewables will bring through employment and by reducing carbon emissions.
- The rural estate in Scotland comprises 43,000 hectares and includes the Glenlivet, Fochabers, Applegirth, Stirling and Whitehill estates. It includes 185 agricultural tenancies and 102 residential properties.
- The urban estate includes retail property in Edinburgh.
• The Crown Estate in Scotland is managed from its Edinburgh Office at 6 Bells Brae Edinburgh EH4 3BJ.
For more information: Contact Emma Twyman on 0207 851 5011 or Ian Coldwell/Barbara Fraser on 0131 556 0770