For us, however, the management of our local marine assets is as important as revenues,
as our goal is to be in a position to work with our communities to utilise our natural
resources to meet our joint priorities, develop our economy and stem the flow of
young people from our areas.
We are also calling on the Government to live up to the principles of The Lerwick
Declaration, made in Shetland by the First Minister in July 2013, which affirmed
the Scottish Government’s commitment to subsidiarity and local decision making.
Devolution of management of Crown Estate assets would go some way towards giving
effect to the commitment to extend the powers of Islands Councils in the Programme
for Government and supported so strongly in the Islands Bill consultation responses.
The seabed around our islands is as much ours as the land on which we live. We have
already seen examples of how community owned land across our islands has sustained
and in some cases saved our fragile areas - this shows what can be done when control
of assets is available to them.
We believe - along with our neighbouring islands councils as part of the Our Islands
Our Future initiative - that a pilot scheme should be implemented, with Crown Estate
powers devolved to island local authorities on behalf of their communities and this
could form a model for the full implementation of what the Smith Commission recommended.
Across all parties we hear of the need to empower communities and have decision making
closer to the people. Further devolution of The Crown Estate fits these principles
perfectly and indeed is a perfect signal as to how serious we are as a country to
get on with that agenda. It is therefore essential for coastal communities that the
passing down of these powers does not stop in Edinburgh and we look forward to working
with Scottish Government on taking this forward.
I would encourage all islanders to respond to the consultation and give a clear message
that they want and expect these rights.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar
Letter: Consultation on Crown Estate proposals
16 January 2017
We are once again repeating our calls for the Scottish Government to devolve Crown
Estate powers to local authorities, as set out in the recommendations of the Smith
This principle was acknowledged in “Empowering Scotland’s Islands Communities” back
in June 2014 when Scottish Government committed to pass on 100% of net revenues in
relation to Crown Estate assets in our areas.