A Change.org petition to give Wales control over its Crown Estate land has reached over 2,000 signatures.

Started three days ago by a Mr Rhodri Williams, the petition calls on Welsh Secretary Simon Hart to support the transfer of the Crown Estate's assests in Wales to Welsh control.

"The value of the Crown Estate Wales’ renewable assets grew from £49.2m in 2020 to £549.1m in 2021," Mr Williams writes.

"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."

The National Wales: A significant proportion of the Crown Estates profits in Wales have been generated by offshore wind projects A significant proportion of the Crown Estates profits in Wales have been generated by offshore wind projects

The Crown Estate is an independent commercial business that manages a collection of land and other holdings across the UK owned by the British monarchy.

Here in Wales, the Crown Estate controls the seabed out to 12 nautical miles from the shore, and more than 50,000 acres of Welsh uplands (hills) and common land.

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The Estate controls 65 percent of the Welsh foreshore and riverbeds, including a number of marinas and the Milford Haven port, Pembrokeshire.

In addition, the Estate controls around 250,000 acres of "mineral-only interests" - sites for mineral extraction - as well as the rights to any deposits of gold or silver found in Wales.

Indeed, Welsh "Clogau" gold, mined from Gwynedd, was used for the wedding rings of Princess Anne, Princess Diana, Princess Eugenie, Duchesses Kate and Meghan, as well as that of the Queen.

The National Wales: The remains of a gold mine in north Wales (Picture source: Gerallt Pennant, CC BY-SA 2.0)The remains of a gold mine in north Wales (Picture source: Gerallt Pennant, CC BY-SA 2.0)

According to the Estate's own records, its property in Wales is currently valued at a total of £603million - a significant increase from just under £97m in 2019.

The increase is largely down to the leasing of Welsh seabeds for offshore wind projects.

One of these projects, off the coast of Ynys Mon, was awarded to a consortium of Energie Baden-Württemberg, a German energy company that operates a number of coal-fired power stations, and British Petroleum, one of the largest oil companies in the world.

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Powers over the Crown Estate in Scotland were devolved with the Scotland Act (2016).

Last summer Plaid Cymru's Liz Saville Roberts presented a Crown Estate (Devolution to Wales) Bill to Parliament. 

The MP said at the time: "There is no just explanation for why, after twenty years of devolution, the UK Treasury and Royal Family still profit from Welsh natural resources while Wales loses out.

“The Welsh Government holds many of the powers relevant to the administration of the Crown Estate, including the responsibility for renewable energy promotion as well powers of consent of energy projects up to 350 megawatts.

"Yet, it has no powers over the leasing of the seabed. That anachronism must be addressed.

"While the UK and Scottish Government reap the benefits of a green gold rush, Wales is missing out."

 

The Bill is due to be debated in the House of Commons on Friday 18th March this year.

As part of its cooperation deal with Plaid, the Welsh Government has pledged to pursue control over the Crown Estate's assets in Wales.

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