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Crown Estate devolution passed

SHETLAND Islands Council and other local authorities will finally have a say how the seabed and other Crown Estate assets in Scotland are being managed.

The Scottish Crown Estate Bill, passed by the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, gives communities a stronger voice and allows for more opportunities for local control and responsibilities.

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Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, who has championed the cause for an enhanced seabed management role for many years, said the bill was paving the way for the devolution of seabed powers to the islands.

Tavish Scott MSP: 'I would despair if we got anywhere near a Bressay Bridge style saga.' Photo: Shetland News
Shetland MSP Tavish Scott

“Shetland has waited too long to take the responsibility for managing the seabed around our coastline,” he said.

“Now parliament has passed a law that makes this happen. As our local council works with others on a new marine plan for Sullom Voe, this law allows real devolution of management and responsibility.”

He added: “I am pleased that the position of trust ports has been recognised in this law too. This means that a trust port, such as Lerwick, can if they wish take responsibility for the seabed in their harbour area.

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“It is right that this power now exists and that local decision making can, if desired, happen.”

Land reform minister Roseanna Cunningham: “I believe strongly in maximising the benefits of the Crown Estate for our communities, which is why I am delighted that parliament has agreed to open up the possibility for local authorities and communities to take direct control of the management of these assets.

“This bill represents a significant step in reforming the management of the Scottish Crown Estate and in empowering our communities. I look forward to visiting a part of the estate that is taken on by a local community in due course.”

Crown Estate Scotland manages assets that stretch the length and breadth of Scotland, including agricultural and forestry land, most of the seabed, just under half of the foreshore and some commercial property.

Shetland Islands Council said it welcomes the passing of the bill but did not comment further.

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