A Plaid Cymru MP has called for powers over Crown Estate to be devolved to boost Wales’ renewable energy supply.
The party’s Treasury spokesman, the MP for Ben Lake, said it would “boost Welsh revenues, increase our bargaining power with the private sector and support the deployment of renewable energy”.
He added that it would also help to “ensure that the communities in which this energy is generated will be those where its benefits are most appreciated.”
The British government has repeatedly refused to delegate authority over the assets of the Crown Estate in Wales to the Senedd, although it has given control of its holdings in Scotland to the Scottish Parliament.
The Crown Estate is a collection of land and property in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch. It owns the rights to the seabed around the British Isles.
However, the powers over the management of the Crown Estate in Wales are still held at Westminster, and the revenues go directly to the Treasury of the UK Government.
Speaking at an opposition SNP debate on the cost of living crisis, the Ceredigion MP also reiterated his calls for the UK government to invest £3.6billion over 10 years in the insulation of Welsh homes, as recommended by the Commissioner for Future Generations for Wales.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ben Lake said: ‘The crisis has demonstrated the need for longer-term action, for example action to boost productivity, green solutions to help the emergency of energy supply and, in doing so, to mitigate the stagnation of living wages.
“We can mitigate the long-term crisis by reducing energy demand. If we were to do that, we could also, quite simply, reduce fuel bills. A good place to start is to improve the efficiency of home heating.
“During the Autumn Budget, I called on the Chancellor to invest £3.6 billion over 10 years, working with the Welsh Government and the private sector, to improve the insulation of homes in Wales. It is well documented that the quality of the Welsh building stock is poor by UK and EU standards, and energy efficiency is quite a sight to behold.
“This would not only boost employment in areas that are in desperate need of ‘leveling up’ through modernization programs, but would also address fuel poverty. A report by Wales’ Commissioner for Future Generations suggested that if such a 10-year investment package were to be made, we would be able to end energy poverty in Wales, generating average annual savings of £418.
In conclusion, Mr. Lake added: “We also need to strengthen the local supply of renewable energy if we really want to tackle the longer-term problems with our fuel and energy supply. I reiterate Plaid Cymru’s call for decentralization of Crown Estate management in Wales.
“Quite simply – with many Scottish colleagues present this afternoon – if Scotland can, why not Wales? Decentralizing the management of the Crown Estate in Wales would boost Welsh revenues, increase our bargaining power with the private sector and support the deployment of renewable energy, while ensuring that the communities in which this energy is generated will be those where its benefits will be most appreciated. .
“In summary, the government needs to do more urgently to address the immediate crisis. The cost of living crisis is deepening and not easing, and households and businesses need support now, but let’s not forget the longer-term action that is needed if we are not to find themselves in this situation in the future.