Management of the Scottish seabed is a current topic for developers and those with an interest in offshore renewable energy projects, following the recent transfer of the Crown Estate’s Scottish functions to the control of the Scottish Parliament. Assets now devolved to Scotland include 37,000 hectares of land, seabed, coastlines and rural estates and cover a wide range of public assets, including the rights to offshore renewable energy zones out to 200 nautical miles. The Scottish Crown Estate Bill provides for further devolution of certain Crown Estate Scotland (CES) assets to be managed by local authorities, island councils, public bodies and community organisations, and was broadly welcomed by the parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform committee, with members suggesting ways in which it could be strengthened. The report recommends that management of the seabed should remain at a national level, though it leaves open the potential for local authorities to manage smaller scale wind and wave/tidal projects within twelve nautical miles of shore. Specifically, the committee recommended that a body with a Scotland-wide overview retain responsibility for the management of offshore renewables, energy-related assets and other cables and pipelines, but that the bill should retain provision for further devolution to occur “where a local authority can demonstrate appropriate expertise and it is considered beneficial from a socio-economic, environmental or sustainable development perspective”.
Scotsman 28th June 2018 read more »