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.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.