United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Crown Estate to lose Scottish seabed control

UK: A UK government report has recommended that the Scottish Parliament should be responsible for its seabed assets, taking powers away from the Crown Estate.

The Scottish parliament will gain more powers following the recommendations
The Scottish parliament will gain more powers following the recommendations

The review recommends that responsibility for the management of the Crown Estate's economic assets in Scotland, and the revenue generated from these assets be transferred to the Scottish parliament.

This includes the Crown Estate's seabed responsibilities, meaning the Scottish parliament will be in charge of leasing areas for offshore wind projects and would benefit from any investment.

A memorandum of understanding would be signed between the Scottish and UK parliaments to ensure this transfer of power would not be "detrimental" to seabed assets and energy security to the UK as a whole.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: "We now need to work together on the detail of how the devolution of the Crown Estate will work in practice to ensure that we continue the development of wind, wave and tidal power around our coasts."

A spokesperson for the Crown Estate said: "We will help inform how this recommendation can work in practice as it moves through to legislation."

Elsewhere in the report, the Smith Commission recommends the Scottish government should have a consultative role in designing renewables incentives, which would include the contracts for difference scheme.

The Smith Commission was set up by the UK government to make recommendation for more powers to Scotland, following the independence referendum in September.

Today's report will form the basis of new legislation in the UK. All of the main UK political parties' leaders have committed to handing greater control to Scotland.

Trade body Scottish Renewables has also released figures showing renewable energy has become the Scotland's main source of power.

Scottish government figures show 32% of Scotland's electricity was generated by renewable projects in the first half of 2014, surpassing nuclear generation.

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