As debate on the Scotland Bill continues, the SNP will today press for amendments
relating to Scotland’s seas and maritime safety – including devolution of coastguard
services and the Crown Estate from the Tory government in London and a new clause
seeking the return of 6000 square miles of Scottish territorial waters appropriated
to England in 1999.
The 'Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order' in 1999 moved the maritime border
between Scotland and England giving away thousands of square miles of fishing waters
and moving the border from Berwick to 60 miles off the coast of Carnoustie.
Speaking ahead of the debate, MP Angus MacNeil, said: “Scotland has been short-changed
by the Scotland Bill and short-changed from benefiting from our natural resources
with Labour astonishingly supporting the Tory government in London keeping power
over a range of policy issues.
“By devolving the Crown Estate we can ensure that Scotland’s natural assets can be
managed in the interests of the Scottish people, not the Tory Treasury bank account
“We are now in the beginnings of an offshore energy boom that requires effective
management of our seas and our shores, support for our ports and our harbours and
the leasing of our seabed in a way that brings long term benefit to the people and
economy of Scotland.
"The removal of 6,000 square miles of Scottish Waters in 1999 by the last Labour
government was clearly a political move to undermine the Scottish Parliament that
would even have embarrassed even the anti-Scottish Tories. Moving Scotland's border
with England to just off the coast of Carnoustie was an utterly illogical and absolutely
“The axing of thousands of square miles of fishing waters at the stroke of a Whitehall
pen caused a great deal of anger in 1999 and now is the time to put this right. This
is a real test for Scottish Labour MPs over whether they want Scottish seas controlled
under English or Scottish Law - under a Scottish Govermment or under a Tory-led government
“Our amendments are about safety too, and that is why we are pressing for devolution
of our Coastguard services which are currently threatened with cuts from Westminster.
"Scotland's seas are busier than ever through oil and gas, offshore renewables, fishing
and tourism. The shortsited proposals of the UK Government to slash coastguard stations
in Scotland put lives at risk.
The UK Government's plan to leave Scotland with just 25% of the coordination centres
in the UK despite having 60% of the sea area is unjustifiable.
"Westminster is making really bad decisions for coastgaurd services in Scotland.
The Scottish Parliament should have the ability to make better choices regarding
the safety of Scotland's maritime sector and I'm calling on MPs to get behind my
amendment today to make this happen."