ISLANDS council leaders have hailed a meeting with Crown Estate Scotland on the future devolution of coastal assets as “very promising”.
Shetland Islands Council leader Cecil Smith, along with Orkney’s James Stockan and Western Isles’ Roddie Mackay, met officials in Lerwick on Thursday.
The meeting, which was organised as part of the Our Islands, Our Future initiative, looked at how piloting management of Crown Estate assets at both a local level and country level could be carried out.
In the SNP’s 2016 manifesto, the party said it would “ensure that Scotland’s coastal and island communities get to control and decide how to invest 100 per cent of net revenues raised from Crown Estate marine assets out to 12 nautical miles.”
Within the 12 mile limit, Crown Estate Scotland awards and manages leases for telecommunication and electricity cables, oil and gas pipelines, offshore renewable energy projects, fish farms and ports and harbours.
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said late last year that he would press the government to ensure not just the devolution of Crown Estate revenues to island councils, but the management of the seabed too.
Thursday’s meeting also discussed proposals for three separate pilot schemes for the islands on a non-statutory basis.
Speaking on behalf all three leaders, Stockan said: "The representatives from the Crown Estate were certainly in listening mode and were keen to hear our case, with good engagement in the discussion on both sides.
“Devolution of the Crown Estate’s assets will give us the ability to ensure development in our waters is sustainable and delivers the maximum benefits for our communities.
“The Crown Estate Scotland board was very receptive and positive about our pilot scheme proposals a meeting is to be set up at an official level to advance this workstream.
“We are also engaging with government and other stakeholders through the Crown Estate stakeholders group in respect of the long term management of Crown Estate Scotland’s assets.”