Plaid Cymru has renewed calls for the Crown Estate to be devolved to Wales, following the announcement that the UK Treasury could earn £43bn in rents from five newly planned wind farms off the coast of Wales.
It comes after the Crown Estate announced plans to generate 4GW of electricity through floating winds farms off the coast of Wales, the tender for which will start in 2023. They say that this will create 29,000 jobs – but Plaid Cymru says only 10,000 of these will be in Wales.
And the Welsh nationalist political party says that powers over the Crown Estate in Wales are still held in Westminster – which means its revenues “disappear” into the HM Treasury, “after a 25% cut for the Royal family”.
READ MORE : Five new wind farm sites in sea off Wales identified by Crown Estate
Plaid Cymru MS Delyth Jewell said that the Crown Estate’s control over our seabed means Wales is “missing out on the green economic rents of our own natural resources.” The Crown Estate in Scotland was devolved to the Scottish Government in 2017, and Ms Jewells asks “Why not to Wales?”
Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson for Energy, Delyth Jewell MS said: “While there is a green goldrush off our shores, Wales will remain a mere spectator in the rush to capitalise from our natural resources.
“Plaid Cymru has long called for the economic levers and powers over the Crown Estate to be devolved to Wales, and now it’s crystal clear to see why this is so important. Instead of people of Wales being the ones who benefit from the leasing of our seabed, all the profits will disappear into UK Treasury, with a large chunk going to the Royal Family.
“Put simply, the resources of Wales, should be governed by the Government of Wales, for the people of Wales. Devolving the Crown Estates’ Welsh territorial assets would allow us to align them with Welsh decision-making and priorities, and provide us with the means to use our resources to invest in our green future.
“So let’s bring our natural resources and their rents closer to home and devolve the Crown Estate to Wales.”
Last month, UK Energy Minister Greg Hands dismissed the question of devolving the Crown Estate to Wales. During a meeting of the m eeting of the parliamentary Welsh Affairs Committee, Mr Hands – the UK minister for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, said that he was “not aware” of any issues with the current arrangement.
And he said that the UK Government has “no plans” to devolve Crown Estate control to Wales. However, Crown Estate control was devolved to Scotland in 2017 and a campaign for the same to be done with the Crown Estate in Wales.
Earlier this year, Liz Saville – Plaid Cymru MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd – drafted a Crown Estate (Devolution to Wales) Bill to Parliament. And an online petition calling for the ‘t ransfer control of the £500m Crown Estate to Wales like in Scotland’ has gathered more than 11,000 signatures.
Rhodri WIlliams, who started the petition to Welsh secretary Simon Hart, wrote: “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. Control of the crown estate has already been transferred over to the Scottish Government back in 2016.
“The value of the Crown Estate Wales’ renewable assets grew from £49.2m in 2020 to £549.1m in 2021.
“This is money that would enable Wales to build and develop our own Welsh renewable energy industry rather than selling off our assets to the highest foreign bidder.
“Please signs and share [the online petition ] and show Simon Hart Secretary for Wales that there IS a public interest and desire for this money to be transferred to the Senedd. Remember this has already happened in Scotland why are we treated differently?”
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