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United front as councils argue for devolved powers for Crown Estate properties and revenues (01/11/11)
Representatives from Highland and Islands councils demonstrated a united front in advising the Scottish Affairs Committee of the UK Government that the management of the Crown Estate’s property and revenues should be devolved to as local a level as possible.
In giving his evidence in Glasgow, Councillor Michael Foxley, Leader of The Highland Council, said that devolution needed to mean giving powers beyond the Scottish Government. Issues such as strategic planning should be managed by local authorities in the Highlands and Islands while foreshore and seabed resources should be managed by local authorities, who already have planning powers on the foreshore, harbour authorities and community land owners.
The Councils agreed to provide the Committee with details of their preferred regional model of management and development.
Councillor Foxley described the problems over the decades caused by the Crown Estate’s management of issues such as fish farming, moorings, harbour developments and now marine renewables.
Unlike the Crown Estate, he said local authorities and communities would invest in long term benefits for their populations.
He again expressed his surprise that the British Ports Association gave evidence supporting the status quo.
He said: “The management of the Crown Estate assets should be devolved to local areas and harbour trusts and community owners should have the direct control and management of their own foreshore and seabed. This will be of significant economic advantage to them.”