Northern Isles MSPs press Environment Secretary on Crown Estate

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott and Orkney MSP Liam McArthur today met with Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham to discuss the devolution of the Crown Estate.

The Scottish Government launched a 12 week consultation on the management of Crown Estate assets at the start of January.

In 2014, the cross-party Smith Commission unanimously agreed that the seabed should become the responsibility of the islands once Crown Estate powers were devolved to Scotland.

During the meeting, the MSPs will press the need for immediate implementation of the recommendation.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

“Our island and harbour authorities have been waiting for these powers for more than two years. I will be making sure the Cabinet Secretary is under no illusions about the importance of delivering these powers, which her party promised to do in their manifesto.

“Crown Estate Scotland will soon be up and running. What we need now is action from the government.”

Speaking after meeting Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary at Holyrood, Tavish Scott said,

“We are committed to making sure the management of the seabed around the islands becomes a local responsibility. At today’s meeting we discussed the benefits of the islands councils and the harbour authorities submitting their proposals before the end of March. This is when the Scottish Government’s consultation over the future of the Crown Estate in Scotland closes. We recognise that the Cabinet Secretary is open minded on where pilot management schemes should be run and that is useful.

“The cross party Smith Commission made the case for these powers to be an island responsibility. Therefore it would be sensible to give these powers to the islands in the period before new laws are in place in 2018. Roseanna Cunningham is open to that. She wants the councils and harbour authorities to submit plans. As Shetland has an excellent marine spatial plan that brings together harbours, industry, environmental groups and the community, that provides an excellent blueprint that control of the seabed would fit.”

Liam McArthur said:

“We have no doubt this is moving in the right direction. Having the management of the seabed around our coasts done locally rather than by a organisation in Edinburgh will be an important step forward and we look forward to that being achieved.”


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