SNP Government outline Crown Estate proposals
The SNP Government published its proposals for devolution of Scotland’s Crown Estate yesterday. If implemented, this would give the Scottish Parliament control over the seabed up to 12 miles offshore.
Alex Salmond made the announcement at the National Economic Forum in Edinburgh yesterday, where he said that control over the Crown Estate would allow proper management of the country’s important marine assets and would ensure that local communities can benefit from the development of offshore renewables.
The SNP pledged in its manifesto to create a Fund for Future Generations which would help harness Scotland’s marine energy potential for the benefit of all Scotland’s people.
Speaking at the event Mr Salmond said:
“The time is right for the archaic legislation governing the Crown Estate to be brought into line with the realities of devolution in a modern Scotland, accountable to the Scottish Parliament and its people and delivering direct benefits to our communities.
“The Scottish Government has the lead role in exploiting our nation’s considerable potential for renewable energy – including responsibility for economic development as well as both land-based and marine planning. Yet it is the Crown Estate Commissioners who grant leases for offshore projects and there is no obligation on the CEC to work in partnership with our economic development bodies.
“The CEC even have the power to sell Scottish assets, including the seabed and important historic sites – all without the need to even consult the Scottish Government. This is position is simply unacceptable and completely incompatible with the principles of devolution.
“Scotland’s seabed and marine natural resources are a vital part of our economy and offer the greatest opportunity for growth. It is right that Scotland should be able to manage these assets – both as a matter of natural justice and to have the best opportunity to deliver growth in renewable energy. There is cross-party support for this position with the Scottish Parliament voting for this view earlier this month. However the most powerful mandate for change came from the people in the election.
“We are continuing to press the UK Government for unfettered access to Scotland’s £200 million Fossil Fuel Levy funds, to support investment in green energy and create jobs and boost communities’ benefits from our massive renewables resources.”
The paper can be viewed here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/Recent/CrownEstate-22-06-11