Drakeford open to £500m Crown Estate being transferred to Welsh control
Mark Drakeford has suggested that he is open to the £500m Crown Estate being transferred to Welsh control.
The First Minister said it is “definitely an idea we should take seriously”, while speaking about boosting Wales’ aspirations of becoming a world leader in renewable energy.
Drakeford also pointed out that control of the Crown Estate is is already “devolved to Scotland”.
One of the Welsh Government’s strategies for tackling the climate emergency is to make the most of Wales’ natural resources, including wind and wave power.
The Crown Estate, which holds the rights to seabeds around the British Isles, is a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch.
However, powers over the management of Crown Estate in Wales are still held in Westminster, and the revenues proceed directly to the UK Government’s Treasury.
The value of the Crown Estate Wales’ renewable assets grew from £49.2m in 2020 to £549.1m in 2021.
During a visit to the Centre for Alternative Technology he told the Guardian: “Wales’ big contribution to a carbon-neutral future is to use the natural assets we have to be at the forefront of renewable energy production, whether that is from wind or waves or water.
“Geography is on our side. If you’re on the west side of the UK, you have the prevailing winds. We are surrounded on three sides by water.”
On devolving power over the Crown Estate to Wales he said: “It’s definitely an idea we should take seriously. The crown estate is devolved in Scotland.
“The Scottish government do have levers they are able to use that are not directly available to us. In Scotland it’s a direct tool the government is able to deploy.”
In response to the comments by Drakeford, Plaid Cymru MP, Liz Saville Roberts said: “Delighted to see @fmwales supporting my Crown Estate Devolution Bill
“I hope all Welsh MPs will back our campaign to bring half a billion pounds’ worth of offshore wind and tidal stream potential under Welsh control #LevellingUp”.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Liz Saville Roberts said: “If COP26 is to be successful, people must be at the heart of our net zero mission. For too long, the UK economy has left too many people behind while wealth and investment hoarded in the south east of England.
“Devolving powers over the Crown Estate would bring half a billion pounds worth of offshore wind and tidal stream potential under Welsh control – assets currently controlled by Westminster. Scotland, meanwhile already has these powers.
“Will he support my Bill to devolve the management of the Crown Estate to Wales?”
The Prime Minister however responded by saying that the Crown Estate would not be devolved.
“As the right hon. Lady already knows, the Crown Estate works closely with the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales,” he said.
“I am sorry to have to tell her that my view is that the devolution of the Crown Estate in Wales would fragment the market, complicate existing processes and make it more difficult for Wales, as well as the whole UK, to move forward to net zero.”
Speaking after the session, Liz Saville Roberts said: “Boris Johnson talks the talk on ‘levelling up’, but this is little more than an election slogan.
“If he truly believed in rebalancing the economy, he would entrust the people of Wales with the means to manage our offshore wind and tidal resources for everyone’s benefit.”
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Boris says that devolution of crown estates will make it more difficult for Wales to move to net zero . How are we to get there, on the back of the tylwyth teg, Wales does not need money, our ancient folklore will magic us to net zero.
Ia iawn Liz a dwr hefyd?
Fat chance that the Tories will hand over control of the Crown Estate to the Welsh Government since they have nothing but disdain for us and treat us as second class citizens. There’s also zero chance that our Quisling so-called Welsh Tory MPs will vote for the bill. I’m not too confident that many Welsh Labour MPs will vote for it either given the track record or the likes of Bryant and Kinnock. It’s time for a change. The choice facing us is to stick with being treated like second class citizens within the UK or become first class citizens… Read more »
If we don’t want Whitehall administrating our Structural Funding or want freeport, we get Boris Johnson Conservative party foist it on us. And when we want the powers over Policing and our Criminal & Youth Justice Systems, are told we cannot have them. The hypocrisy of it all. All the Tories care about is shifting the problem onto Wales whilst keeping the keys to our shackles. The devolution of the Crown Estate & money would go along way to repairing & stabilizing all those dangerous coal tips that are one rainstorm away from killing more Welsh children as done in… Read more »
I’m not a Labour voter or a Unionist lacky like some I could mention being a Welsh Nationalist. But do you think the Tories would do better?
Oh, and didn’t Boris Johnson claim recently how Thatcher closing the mines in the 80s decimating those same hardworking taxpaying Welsh mining communities that powered the industrial revolution and aided Britain in two World Wars, helped the environment and gave the UK a big start in the fight against climate change, whist omitting they imported inferior coal from Poland to burn in those same polluting power stations & home fires.
Criticising Welsh Labour’s record on one particular issue doesn’t necessarily mean suggesting the Welsh Tories would do it better. I doubt if this was being implied here.
As for Johnson’s willingness or otherwise to hand over 50% control of Crown Estate resources, this is another battle between Wales and Westminster that the latter are going to win,
And the reason why I said. Would the Tories do better? And gave an example of Conservative hypocrisy regarding Boris Johnson’s outlandish insensitive claim that Thatcher’s pit closures gave the UK a head start regarding Climate Change when it was a total facade & lie. Also, I don’t defend Welsh Labour’s record one iota. I’m merely playing Devil’s advocate, although would give credit where credit’s due if a policy was beneficial. I’d same the same of the Welsh Tories but they’d never do anything soley in Wales interests. Their policy copy & paste English policies without the funding. Just look… Read more »
Of course they won’t give it us that would mean giving us money and power, the two things tories crave the most.
“Open to it”! He should be all over it! We need to get a whole lot tougher with Westminster… They’re getting away with murder!