The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee is seeking opinions from islanders on the priorities set out in the Scottish Government’s proposed National Islands Plan.
The Committee is today launching a call for views, which also invites comments from local authorities and others with an interest in island communities, to inform its scrutiny of the draft Plan.
Currently, the Plan sets out 13 strategic objectives aimed at improving outcomes for island communities.
These objectives include measures to address population decline, improve and promote sustainable economic development, and improve housing and transport services, as well as expanding digital connectivity.
In its Stage 1 report on the Islands (Scotland) Bill, the REC Committee said that it expected the Plan to “set out both a clear strategic direction and practical approaches to delivery”.
Speaking as the call for views was launched, Committee Convener, Edward Mountain MSP, said:
“A key recommendation in our report on the Islands Bill was that the Scottish Government must ensure that the priority areas featured in the National Islands Plan reflect the actual priorities of islanders.
“To that end, this call for views gives islanders the opportunity to express their opinions on the objectives set out in the draft Plan.
“The Committee has a limited timeframe within which to consider the proposed Plan. It is therefore crucial that we hear as wide a range of views as possible in order that we are able to fairly judge the Scottish Government’s proposals.”
Other objectives of the Plan, which is being developed as part of the implementation of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, are to improve and promote health and well-being and education, to support arts, culture and language, and to empower diverse communities.
The Plan also seeks to improve and promote environmental well-being and deal with biosecurity, and to ensure that Scottish islands are at the forefront of measures to tackle climate change.
The Convener added:
“This Committee supports the empowerment of island communities and local decision making, and the views of islanders will inform our recommendations to the Scottish Government in its preparation of the final Plan.”
More information can be found online at www.parliament.scot/rural-economy-committee
Link to the Proposed National Islands Plan
The Committee is required by the terms of the Islands (Scotland) Act to consider the proposed Plan and feed back within 40 days. The call for views is open until 31 October 2019.