An interesting question has been raised by the Stannary Parliament here. If the Crown Estate, as ultimate owner, is responsible for the foreshore and natural coastline of England then who currently takes responsibilty for the protection of the Cornish foreshore considering that the Duchy of Cornwall is the ultimate owner of said foreshore? The Duchy certainly doesn't seem to!
Article in this weeks St. Ives Times and Echo:
Although most of the foreshore around the UK is crown property this is not the case in Cornwall where the rights have been ceded to The Duchy of Cornwall: "The Crown Estate has no holdings within the boundaries of Cornwall. Foreshore and other properties that would, in most Counties, be the property of the Crown Estate are, in Cornwall, not owned by the Crown Estate," confirmed Tim Riley, the Crown Estate Librarian, in January 2005.
Under the Articles of Agreement between the Crown and the Duchy of Cornwall, made law by the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act 1958, the mineral rights beneath the foreshore were assigned to the Duke of Cornwall. The legal position was confirmed: "The Duchy of Cornwallis vested in the Prince of Wales (who is) entitled to the annual income," by the Prime Minister and recorded in Hansard (27 March 1996).
In its complaint to GOSW the Stannary Parliament claims that "The Duke of Cornwall does not offer a Marine Stewardship Project or a Marine Communities Fund as might be reasonably be expected of the owner of the foreshore of Cornwall in light of the Crown Estates example."
"Recent meetings of the "Save our Sand Hayle" and the "Hayle Towans Partnership"
have expressed serious concern at the accelerating depletion of sand caused by commercial exploitation, yet have not contacted the Crown Estate or the Duchy of Cornwall as a landowner," writes E.R. Nute, keeper of the Stannary Parliament's seal.
In it's lengthy letter, which quotes many legal extracts drawing attention to the Duchy's ownership of Cornwall's foreshore, the Parliament complains that: "Clear administrative responsibilities are, however, not immediately apparent," and adds that Cornwall County Council is expected, "Not to take away any of the rights, powers, privelidges or authority of the Duchy of Cornwall, under section 50 of the Cornwall County Council Act 1981."
As a consequence the Stannary Parliament is asking GOSW: "Who is legally responsible for ensuring the protection and survival of the foreshore and natural coastline of Cornwall in compliance with European Union Decisions and Directives....?"
We can only welcome and applaud the recent call from Peter Tatchell for a full and public investigation into the nature of the Duchy of Cornwall.