Shetland Council wants seabed rights handed over

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
29 November 2006, at 12:00am

UK - Shetland Islands Council looks set to join the growing call for a review of the Crown Estate Commission in Scotland, with a view to its powers being transferred to the Scottish Parliament.

The Crown Estate has long been a subject of condemnation in the northern isles for the way they levy rents for fish farms, with little investment coming in return.

Now the six local authorities in the Highlands and Islands, along with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, have issued a report examining the role the Crown Estate plays and calling for change.

Councillors in Shetland are now being asked to endorse the report by the Crown Estate Review Working Group, which demands that Scottish Ministers institute a review of the role the organisation plays in Scotland.

The draft foreword states: "(We) have long had concerns over the ways in which the property rights which make up the Crown Estate in Scotland, in particular the ownership of Scotland's seabed and public foreshore, are managed.

"(We) now consider that the changed circumstances of devolution have created opportunities to increase substantially both the public benefits in Scotland from the management of these property rights and the level of democratic accountability in Scotland over their management."

The report adds: "Many factors point to a strong case that the Scottish Executive should become directly responsible for the administration and revenues of Scotland's own territorial seabed and associated property rights."

Source: Shetland Marine News