Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur today made the case for empowering island authorities to determine the ‘community benefit’ from future marine developments.
The call came as Mr McArthur moved a series of amendments at Stage 2 of the Scottish Crown Estate Bill, which was considered by parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee earlier today.
While the amendments were not accepted by the Committee, Mr McArthur secured a commitment from the Cabinet Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, that the government would work with him ahead of Stage 3 to see how these principles might be captured in the Bill before it is finally approved.
Speaking during the Committee, Mr McArthur said:
“Devolving management of the Crown Estate in Scotland to the communities with the most direct interest in and reliance on the future use of those assets is the right thing to do. This bill has the potential to make that happen by securing the benefits for communities arising from developments in the marine environment. Decisions over how these benefits are set, raised and allocated, however, must be taken at a local level.
“The principle that local communities should be compensated for the disruption and inconvenience associated with development is widely accepted. It happens in terrestrial planning and increasingly in the context of off-shore developments, but this is always voluntary and can be very patchy. There is an opportunity in this bill to take a different approach.”
Following the Committee, Mr McArthur added:
“I lodged my amendments in order to prompt a debate about how we can give island communities greater control over future developments in the seas around them and more say over the benefits that arise from such developments. While the Minister could not accept the amendments as drafted, I welcome her willingness to engage in further discussions about how these objectives might be achieved through the Scottish Crown Estates Bill”.