Crown Estate Bill: Ensure sea bed cannot be sold, MSPs recommend

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 30 May 2018 in News

In a new report, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee recommended that the sea bed should be treated as a national asset and should be managed nationally

The Scottish Crown Estate Bill should be amended to ensure the sea bed cannot be sold, according to the Scottish Parliament’s environment committee.

In a new report on the Crown Estate Bill, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee recommended that the sea bed should be treated as a national asset and should be managed nationally.

It also recommended that some Scottish Crown Estate assets, such as offshore renewables, energy related assets and other cables and pipelines, should continue to be managed on a national basis.

But the report said there should remain a provision for local authorities to take on the management of the assets where they can demonstrate the expertise to do so.

The bill, which covers public assets such as the rights to fish wild salmon and sea trout, and the management of ports and harbours and offshore renewable energy sites, aims to create opportunities for local authorities and community groups to run parts of the estate in a sustainable way.

MSPs welcomed plans to devolve management of some Crown Estate Scotland assets to local authorities and community organisations.

Convener Graeme Dey said: “The Bill aims to ensure the estate’s assets are managed sustainably by those who are best placed to do so. Whether that’s Crown Estate Scotland, a local authority or community group, this Bill is a welcome step forward in terms of community empowerment.

“Since 2017, the Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) has worked hard to engage with the estate’s tenants and to improve communication with them, which is something that tenants have really welcomed. The Bill offers an opportunity to build on this approach and to ensure that environmental factors are always at the heart of the Crown Estate in the future.”

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