Orkney should lead the way on managing seabed, says McArthur

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has today reiterated calls on Scottish Government to ensure Orkney is one of the first communities to pilot the management of crown estate assets.

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on the interim arrangements for managing the Crown Estate responsibilities in Scotland, following their devolution to the Scottish Parliament under the recommendations of the Smith Commission.

Earlier this month, Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur met Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, to discuss Orkney’s case for leading the way on local control of seabed.

Raising the issue again in parliament today, Mr McArthur urged the Cabinet Secretary to consider the “long standing desire within Orkney to take responsibility for managing the crown estate assets, not just the revenue”.

In response, the Cabinet Secretary confirmed she is meeting the island councils next week to discuss outline proposals and hopes to receive more detailed plans before the consultation concludes at the end of March.

Following the exchanges in Parliament, Mr McArthur said:

“I welcome the response from the Cabinet Secretary who seems open to the idea of giving Orkney and Shetland the go-ahead to lead the way in local management of our seabed assets. This is not a new concept for the Northern Isles, but the new powers delivered through the Smith Commission provide an opportunity to go further in empowering our island communities.

“More detailed proposals for how the pilot scheme would work in practice must now be worked up. However, I am hopeful that things can be put in place later this year and will continue to press the Minister to ensure this happens.”


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