Call for Crown Estate in Scotland to be devolved and decentralised

By staff writers
19 Mar 2012

The Scottish Affairs committee in the House of Commons has called for the powers of the Crown Estate Commissioners in Scotland to be both devolved to Scotland and then decentralised to local communities.

The committee's report was published on Monday 19 March 2012. The evidence it received identified major issues over the CEC's management of its responsibilities, calling for significant reform.

Alison Johnstone MSP, who is a member of the Scottish Parliament's Scotland Bill committee, commented yesterday: "This report adds serious weight to the case for local democracy and for ending the detached way in which the Crown Estate is run in Scotland. The UK Government must now recognise the case for change."

"The committee's insistence on a double-devolution of powers, with control ending up in the hands of local communities, is a principle that I hope will get far more prominence in the debate on Scotland's future," added Ms Johnstone, a Green MSP.

The move has significance for the allocation of resources, for community access and ultimately for the distribution of wealth and power - which lies at the core of addressing rural and urban poverty, points out a report on the Poverty Truth Commission's blog (http://povertytruthcommission.blogspot.co.uk/).

In Scotland the Crown Estate manages 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.

It declares: "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."

The Scottish Green Party, the Scottish National Party (SNP) and other smaller left-wing parties, as well as civic groups, are among those backing full Scottish self-governance and independence.

* Full details of the Scottish Affairs committee report can be found here: http://bit.ly/FPIeV4 Crown Estate Scotland: http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/about-us/scotland/

[Ekk/3]

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