LIZ SAVILLE ROBERTS MP, leader of Plaid Cymru in Westminster, has written to Buckingham Palace in response to King Charles’ request that a £1 billion profit increase from six new offshore wind farms on the Crown Estate, including one off the coast of North Wales, be used for the “wider public good” rather than the Royal Family.
Plaid Cymru notes that they have “long advocated the devolution of the Crown Estate to Wales, as has been the case in Scotland since 2017.” The letter echoes long-held calls for renewable energy generation off the Welsh coast to be reinvested in the communities of Wales rather than going to the UK Treasury.
Ms. Saville Roberts suggested in a letter to Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, that given the King’s support for profits to be directed for the “wider public good” and the fact that environmental issues and natural resources are devolved matters, the Palace should consider directing the money to the people of Wales, via the Welsh Government, rather than to the UK Treasury.
Liz Saville Roberts’ Crown Estate (Devolution to Wales) Bill received cross-party support in the 2021-22 parliamentary session. Plaid Cymru successfully negotiated the inclusion of the devolution of the Crown Estate into its Cooperation Agreement with the Welsh Government.
Liz Saville Roberts wrote in her letter, “In light of the offshore energy windfall from which the Crown Estate will benefit in the coming years, I understand that the King has indicated his preference for a reduction in the proportion of the Sovereign Grant so that more of the Crown Estate’s profits can be “directed for wider public good.”
“This comes following the news that the Crown Estate has signed leasing agreements for six offshore wind projects which together will result in revenue of close to £1bn for the Crown Estate every year. One of the six projects will be located off the North Wales coast, reminding us of the historic opportunity offshore wind represents for the Welsh economy. As I understand, the Crown Estate is also developing plans to lease further areas of the seabed in the Celtic sea to floating offshore wind developers.
“As you may be aware, management of the Crown Estate in Wales is reserved to Westminster, while in Scotland management of the Crown Estate has been devolved to Scottish Government since 2017. There is growing support in Wales for Welsh Government to receive the same powers as Scotland so that the people of Wales are able to benefit directly from the economic opportunities presented by the potential for renewable energy production on land held by the Crown Estate.
“My Private Member’s Bill, the Crown Estate (Devolution to Wales) Bill, received cross-party support in the 2021-22 parliamentary session. Given that environmental matters and natural resources are devolved to the Senedd, we believe that profits from renewable energy generation should be reinvested into the communities of Wales – not to Treasury coffers.
“I would urge you to explore further the devolution of powers over the Crown Estate in Wales to Welsh Government, in particular with your fellow Royal Trustees; and ask that this matter is raised in any further communication with the Treasury regarding the Sovereign Grant.”