ADT Highlands and Islands Working Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Air Departure Tax (ADT) Highlands and Islands Working Group.


1. The Scottish Government has established a Working Group of Highlands and Islands (H&I) stakeholders in order to develop a joint understanding of the issues, the importance of aviation and the current exemption to the H&I region, to support the SG in resolving the H&I exemption issue.


2. The remit of the Group is to engage in a dialogue to draw on a wide range of stakeholder views with the aim of building consensus around the problem and potential ways forward. This will in turn help inform the separate ongoing work with the Scottish Government and UK Government on resolving the H&I issue to support the introduction of ADT in Scotland.


3. The following organisations have been invited to nominate a representative to attend meetings of the Working Group:

  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Hitrans, Zettrans
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Federation of Small Businesses
  • Scottish Council for Development and Industry
  • University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland's Rural University College
  • Business Gateway
  • Scottish Rural Action
  • National Council of Rural Advisers
  • Aviation: Loganair; Airlines UK to represent remaining airlines
  • Airports: Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd; Edinburgh Airport
  • Local Authorities incl. Highland, Moray, Argyll & Bute, Eilean Siar, Orkney, Shetland.

Organisations that will be represented by others and remain on the copy-list are:

  • Moray, Eilean Siar
  • Individual Chambers of Commerce.

4. In addition, officials from the Tax Division of the Scottish Government and Transport Scotland will be invited to attend each meeting of the Working Group, with other interested officials invited to be represented depending on the agenda for the meeting.

Chair and secretariat

5. The meetings will be chaired by James McLellan, Head of Fully Devolved Taxes at the Scottish Government. 6. The secretariat for the Group is Sacha Rawlence, ADT policy officer for the Scottish Government.

Schedule of meetings

7. The intention is to hold a series of three meetings, as set out in the invitation. However, the possibility of additional meetings is being left open depending on progress made.

  • First meeting: Background, Joint understanding of the issue
  • Second meeting: Evidence-gathering H&I region and routes
  • Third meeting: Potential ways of delivering the same outcome as the current H&I exemption, and alternatives to a like-for-like replacement.

8. Dates and locations of subsequent meetings will be proposed at the first meeting. Dependent on delegates' availability, it is proposed that the Group should be convened quarterly.

Limits to scope

9. The material taken to the Group should not be distributed out with the meeting and discussions should remain private.

10. The following will be considered to be out of scope of the Group:

  • SG's overarching policy to reducing ADT by 50%.
  • Sharing official SG legal advice on State Aid issues.
  • Direct approaches to the UK Government or European Commission.
  • Interaction with Parliament or other political parties.

Agenda, meeting papers and minutes

11. An agenda and any meeting papers will be circulated in advance of each meeting and should not be circulated out with the Group. Summary notes of meetings will be circulated after each meeting, to be approved by members by correspondence. Papers and agreed notes will then be published on the SG website.

Scottish Government

June 2018



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