1st October 2016
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Scott slams lack of plans for seabed powers to islands

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has criticised what he called the Scottish government’s “lack of plans” over the future transfer of control of the seabed to the islands.

MSPs from the Holyrood parliament’s environment committee questioned civil servants on the devolution of the Crown Estate on Tuesday morning.

Mr Scott said the 2014 Smith Commission, of which he was a member, recommended that local authorities and harbour authorities be given powers over the seabed.

He said: “The Scottish government, through their civil servants could have used today to lay out how control of the seabed will be transferred. They did not.

“They gave no indication of when Shetland is likely to benefit from local decision-making over the seabed. In fact, they poured heaps of North Sea cold water over the concept of local devolution.

“I am very concerned that transferring the powers over the seabed are not in any way an SNP priority.”

Mr Scott said he would be writing to the minister responsible, asking whether she shared the same position and to question why her civil servants had not been instructed to get on with implementing the Smith Commission’s recommendation.

He said: “This week parliament could have heard what the government are doing about delivering the recommendation of the Smith Commission. Instead we learnt nothing. Ministers need to get a grip of this immediately.”

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