On 9 June 2017, the Islands (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament. This historic bill seeks to put in place measures that will support and help meet the unique needs of Scotland’s islands now and in the future. The Bill will help create the right environment for sustainable growth and empowered communities.
Measures in the bill will include:
A requirement to ‘island proof’ future legislation and policies
The creation of a National Islands Plan
Statutory protection for the Na h-Eileanan an lar Scottish parliamentary constituency boundary
Greater flexibility around Councillor representation within island communities
Extended powers to island councils in relation to marine licencing
Islands Minister Humza Yousaf said:
“This government is committed to promoting islands’ voices, to harnessing islands’ resources and enhancing their well-being. The measures in this bill underpin this ambition.
In particular, the provision to ‘island-proof’ decision-making across the public sector will ensure the interests of islanders are reflected in future legislation and policy from the very outset.
“The National Islands Plan will set out the strategic direction for supporting island communities, continuing the momentum generated by the ‘Our Islands Our Future’ campaign and the work of the Islands Strategic Group.
“This is the first ever bill for Scotland’s islands, marking an historic milestone for our island communities. I am proud and privileged as Islands Minister to be guiding the Bill through Scotland’s Parliament. ”
The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee of the Scottish Parliament is now undertaking scrutiny of the Bill as part of their Stage 1 evidence session. It is anticipated this stage of the parliamentary process will be completed by the end of January 2018.
The Bill and the accompanying dcouments can be viewed at:
The Equality Impact Assessement that accompanies the Bill can be viewed at:http://sh45inta/Topics/Government/local-government/Islands/Islands-Bill/EqualityImpactAssessment