Crown Estate

I would also urge the UK Government to rethink its refusal to devolve the management of Scotland’s coast and seabed from the UK Crown Estate to the Scottish Government, with further devolution to community level.

Currently, the Crown Estate manages around 50% of our coast and most of our seabed, with surplus revenues paid to the Westminster Treasury. The Westminster-appointed Scottish Affairs Committee has produced a highly critical report on the Crown Estate’s management, which it says lacks accountability, transparency and public consultation. Local communities claim the Crown Estate acts like an “absentee landlord” and “tax collector”.

According to the Committee’s Chairman, the Crown Estate “has raised millions more pounds from its assets in Scotland than it invested back into coastal areas”. He recommends that, in order for communities to enjoy the benefits of their own resources, as much responsibility as possible must be devolved.

Despite these highly damning conclusions, the UK Government states it is “not persuaded”. I find it deplorable that Westminster hangs onto Scotland’s resources like a dog with a very meaty bone. Our marine assets should not be under the control of an unelected Crown Estate that lacks accountability to local communities.

The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.

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