‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’: Welsh Secretary says there is no ‘public appetite’ for giving Wales control of Crown Estate
The UK Government’s Welsh Secretary has said that there is no “public interest or appetite” in transferring control of the £500m Crown Estate to Wales.
Simon Hart was responding to a question from Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts who said there was a clear majority in the Senedd to support the principle of Wales having the same powers as Scotland over the Crown Estate.
But Simon Hart responded to say that ‘”frankly, it is a case of, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
“The relationship that the Crown Estate enjoys with the UK Government, the Welsh Government and stakeholders works very well,” he said.
“I do not think there is any public interest or appetite for altering the terms of that arrangement.”
His comments come after First Minister Mark Drakeford said that he was open to the £500m Crown Estate being transferred to Welsh control.
Mark Drakeford said it is “definitely an idea we should take seriously”, pointing 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.
Speaking at Westminster, Liz Saville Roberts had said that Plaid Cymru’s co-operation agreement with the Welsh Government agreed that further powers were needed to support our path to net zero— “specifically on the management of the Crown Estate and its assets in Wales”.
“Given that there is now a clear majority in the Senedd to support the principle of Wales having the same powers, remember, as there are regarding the Crown Estate of Scotland, will the Minister also support my Bill to ensure that the profits of offshore wind go to the people of Wales?”