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Crown Estate Needs a Radical Overhaul: Scottish Greens

crownThe Scottish Crown Estates Bill was debated in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 19th June 2018.

Revenues and management of the  Scottish Crown Estate will form part of an Islands Plan for Orkney which follows on from the passing of the Islands Bill. The Scottish Crown Estates Bill is at an early stage in its progress through the Scottish Parliament.

You can watch the full Stage 1 debate here: Scottish Crown Estate Bill

Orkney Islands Councillor, Steven Heddle,  is quoted several times in speeches by MSPs.

The purpose of the Scottish Crown Estate Bill is to:

  • Rename Crown Estate Scotland (Interim Management) to Crown Estate Scotland (CES)
  • Establish the provision that Scottish Ministers may transfer management of Scottish Crown Estate assets to a ‘transferee’ (colloquially a manager) which could include CES, a local authority, another Scottish public authority or a community organisation.
  • Make provision for a number of managerial provisions including: allowing managers to dispose and/or acquire assets on behalf of the Crown as if they were owners; to maintain the financial value of the assets; to maintain and enhance the wider socio-economic benefits of Scotland; and prepare management plans.

In her statement Roseanna Cunningham,Land Reform Secretary in the Scottish Government said:

Roseanna Cunningham

Photo Scot Gov

“At the heart of this bill is the desire to maximise the benefits of the Scottish Crown Estate for our communities and the country as a whole. It will open up the possibility for local authorities and communities to take control of the management of those assets which was a key recommendation from The Smith Commission.

“Recognising the diversity of the Scottish Crown Estate, any changes in management should be done on a case-by-case basis, to ensure assets are well maintained and effectively managed, with high standards of transparency and accountability.

“This bill represents a significant step in empowering Scotland’s communities and I am pleased that the Parliament has today decided to back, in principle, these reforms.”

The Scottish Greens feel that the Crown Estate Bill still contains many aspects of feudalism and will be a tabling amendments.

Andy Wightman MSP, Land Reform spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:

“Communities the length and breadth of Scotland are routinely hampered in their efforts to make the most of historic assets such as harbours, foreshores and the seabed. To date the Crown Estate has been remote and unaccountable, and sadly it seems most parties at Holyrood are content with a business-as-usual approach to this feudal relic when it really needs a radical overhaul.

“Greens will continue to champion local accountability, and we will support the Bill at stage one, to allow it to proceed to the next stage of committee scrutiny. We will seek to amend it to bring about a modern system of asset management that puts local communities in charge.”

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