Highlands & Islands

Put Crown Estate fund in local hands says Foxley

Highland Council's leader has asked that a planned fund for coastal communities be controlled by the people it would be set up to benefit.

The UK government has proposed using some of the profits made by the Crown Estate to establish the fund.

The Crown Estate has been leasing seabed sites for the development of marine energy schemes.

Dr Michael Foxley said any fund should be controlled by the communities living near the projects.

Highland Council's leader has previously said he would support communities taking direct action against marine renewable schemes which yielded no local benefit.

The Liberal Democrat Michael Foxley's comments followed Bristol-based Marine Current Turbines (MCT) securing the lease to part of the seabed off Skye earlier this year.

He said there was not a "clear message" in the plans on community benefits.

At the time MCT said these details had not been worked out and that it wanted to maximise local job opportunities.

Chancellor George Osborne said in a speech last week that there would be an announcement later on the setting up of a Crown Estate-backed fund.

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