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Seabed should be managed nationally, Scottish Parliament committee says

Words: Laura Edgar
Scottish coast | iStock-817398076

The Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee has welcomed the Scottish Crown Estate Bill but has said it should be amended to ensure the sea bed cannot be sold.

For the committee, the seabed is a national asset and should be managed nationally.

The Scottish Crown Estate Bill is currently making its way through the Scottish Parliament. It sets out the long-term management of Crown Estate assets, including 37,000 hectares of land, seabed, coastlines and rural estates.

It aims to create opportunities for local authorities and community groups to run parts of the estate in a sustainable way.

The committee agrees that local authorities, including the Island Councils, may be well placed to take on the management of assets and welcomes the provision for further devolution to local authorities and communities.

The committee recommends a national body that has a Scotland wide overview is responsible for the management of offshore renewables, energy related assets and other cables and pipelines. It thinks that the bill “should retain provision for this to occur where a local authority can demonstrate appropriate expertise and it is considered beneficial from a socio-economic, environmental or sustainable development perspective”.

Graeme Dey MSP, convenor of the committee, 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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MSPs probe Crown Estate Bill

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