The Scottish Parliament passed the Scottish Crown Estate Bill yesterday, paving the way for the devolution of seabed powers to the islands. Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has championed this cause over many years and, as a member of the Smith Commission, achieved cross-party support for giving seabed powers to the islands.
Shetland Islands Council and Crown Estate Scotland are currently working on a marine plan for seabed management in Sullom Voe.
Commenting after the debate, Tavish said:
“Shetland has waited too long to take the responsibility for managing the seabed around our coastline. Now Parliament has passed a law that makes this happen. As our local Council works with others on a new marine plan for Sullom Voe, this law allows real devolution of management and responsibility.
“I am pleased that the position of Trust Ports has been recognised in this law too. Amendments that I moved in Parliament were improved by the Government. This means that a Trust Port, such as Lerwick, can if they wish take responsibility for the seabed in their harbour area. It is right that this power now exists and that local decision making can, if desired, happen.
“This is a positive development in the management of the seabed and I support the principle of local decision making. It is now up to the Council and others to assess how they want to use these powers.”