There is a interesting image on the front cover of the newly released report of The Land Reform Review Group – The Land of Scotland and the Common Good. The report is a 263 page document, but the image is striking for setting out Scotland’s purported maritime boundaries – both the twelve nautical mile ‘Scottish territorial seas’ and what it calls the ‘Scottish Seas’, set at 200 nautical miles. The latter is the legal Exclusive Econonic Zone, but the label chosen is telling. Some of these boundaries are taking the UK boundaries – see, for example, this DEFRA map for fishing rights – to apply to Scotland, but others are intra-UK – between Scotland and England, the Isle of Man, and Northern Ireland. There is also a large sector that is within the ‘civil jurisdiction offshore activities boundary’ but not within the ‘Scottish Seas boundaries’. And, as with the existing UK maps, the continental shelf extends to the West, which has implications especially for drilling rights.
I’ve taken a quick look at some of the text but not yet read the whole report – I was initially interested in questions of property in land and territory on land, but the cover image was very striking. I’m sure my ex-colleagues at Durham’s International Boundaries Research Unit such as Phil Steinberg and Martin Pratt could provide some expert commentary on some of the issues at stake here. This could become a major issue if there is a ‘yes’ vote to Scottish independence.