Northern Isles representatives have jointly called on the Scottish Government to introduce pilot schemes for the management of the seabed in Shetland and Orkney.
In a joint submission to the consultation over the long-term management of Crown Estate, MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur and MP Alistair Carmichael pressed the importance of granting powers to local and harbour authorities.
Writing in their submission, the three Liberal Democrat politicians highlighted that renewable energy and the fishing industry generate significant income for both Orkney and Shetland, and they hoped that devolution of powers over the waters up to 12 nautical miles could create “significant benefits for our communities”.
The submissions follows a meeting last month where Tavish Scott MSP and Liam McArthur MSP discussed the potential of a pilot scheme for the islands with Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham. The Cabinet Secretary confirmed she was due to meet the island councils to discuss the proposal further.
Commenting, Liam McArthur MSP said:
“Ideally Orkney and Shetland would already be enjoying the benefits of local decision making. However, I hope ministers will see this consultation as a wake-up call and ensure a pilot scheme is introduced as soon as possible.
“The seabed is a vital part of our local economies. It’s time our communities had the power to make decisions that directly affect local jobs and indeed our island cultures.”