Management of the sea bed around Orkney and Shetland could be tried later this year, say Isles MSPs Liam McArthur and Tavish Scott.
Speaking after meeting Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary at Holyrood, Tavish Scott said,
“We are committed to making sure the management of the seabed around the islands becomes a local responsibility. At today’s meeting we discussed the benefits of the islands councils and the harbour authorities submitting their proposals before the end of March. This is when the Scottish Government’s consultation over the future of the Crown Estate in Scotland closes. We recognise that the Cabinet Secretary is open minded on where pilot management schemes should be run and that is useful.
“The cross party Smith Commission made the case for these powers to be an island responsibility. Therefore it would be sensible to give these powers to the islands in the period before new laws are in place in 2018. Roseanna Cunningham is open to that. She wants the councils and harbour authorities to submit plans. As Shetland has an excellent marine spatial plan that brings together harbours, industry, environmental groups and the community, that provides an excellent blueprint that control of the seabed would fit.”
Liam McArthur said:
“We have no doubt this is moving in the right direction. Having the management of the seabed around our coasts done locally rather than by a organisation in Edinburgh will be an important step forward and we look forward to that being achieved.”