AMID the continued reluctance of the Westminster Parliament to hand over Scotland’s coastline to Scottish jurisdiction & benefit, the Scottish Government has criticised the recent, piecemeal developments in Crown Estate reform as a “missed opportunity”, with Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead issuing a statement saying “the UK Government should relinquish responsibility and devolve control to the Scottish Parliament and Scotland's communities”.
Those who campaign for the compete handover of the rights to control Scotland’s coastline, seabed and the huge revenues arising from it’s commercial say it is only a matter of time before Westminster must give back Scotland’s coast to Scotland, although supporters of the current regime point out revenues from the Crown Estate go directly to the Treasury and benefit all UK taxpayers.
Scottish Government Press Release :
Commenting on the developments announced today in the management of the Crown Estate and the implications for Scottish Crown Estate assets, Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “This is a missed opportunity by the UK Government for much needed accountability of the Crown Estate. These developments do not go far enough and greater transparency is needed over all Crown Estate functions in Scotland.
Today’s developments are a small step forward, but it must not be the end of the story. Scotland deserves better than a limited and reluctant release of the Crown Estate assets from centralised London control. Rather than being determined to hold on to the Crown Estate at any cost, the UK government should relinquish responsibility and devolve control to the Scottish Parliament and Scotland's communities.
“The Scottish Affairs Committee recommendations gave a clear rationale for the devolution of the Crown Estate in Scotland – a position that has also received cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament, that urged the UK Government to go even further – and it’s deeply disappointing that UK ministers have chosen to ignore this.
“While it’s encouraging that the Crown Estate is taking steps to be more responsive to the needs of local communities, it is still the case that Scotland and its communities stand to see no direct benefit from the exploitation of our vast natural resources. Scottish communities must have a say in how the natural assets on their door step are managed and we will continue to press for change, so that this becomes a reality.”
Find out more about Scotland's proposals for a devolved Crown Estate for a devolved Crown Estate
THE CROWN ESTATE IN SCOTLAND :
In Scotland we manage a diverse property portfolio including five rural estates, mineral and salmon fishing rights, as well about half of the foreshore and almost all of the seabed.
Our responsibilities are to maintain and enhance the value of the estate and its income over the long term. To do this we work in partnership with the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament, local authorities, communities and our customers for mutual benefit.
The opportunities offered by marine renewable energy are a key part of our work in Scotland, and we are working with the Scottish Government to help meet their target of 100 per cent of electricity consumption being met by renewable sources by 2020.
We also invest in the development of the aquaculture industry, which brings £430 million into the Scottish economy, and in ports and harbours, strengthening Scotland's position as a marine tourism destination.
Our rural estates comprise 37,000 hectares, of which 5,000 is forest. They include nine Sites of Special Scientific Interest and we are aware of the need to protect sensitive and fragile environments. We work with tenants on these estates to support the development of their businesses which range from farms to sustainable tourism.
The urban estate in Scotland comprises 39-41 George Street, Edinburgh. Our other investment in Scottish commercial property is through a 50 per cent interest in an English Limited Partnership which owns Fort Kinnaird Retail Park in Edinburgh.