1. Under the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, Scottish Ministers and other relevant authorities, including a number of public authorities, must complete an Island Communities Impact Assessment (ICIA) and take account of island issues when developing any new policy, strategy or service.
2. Section 13 of the 2018 Act states that an ICIA must:
- describe the likely significantly different effect of the legislation;
- assess the extent to which the Scottish Ministers consider that the legislation can be developed in such a manner as to improve or mitigate, for island communities, the outcomes resulting from the legislation; and
- set out the financial implications of steps taken under this subsection to mitigate, for island communities, the outcomes resulting from the legislation.
3. The Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 defines an island community as a community that consists of two or more individuals, all of whom permanently inhabit an island (whether or not the same island), and is based on common interest, identity or geography (including in relation to any uninhabited islands whose natural environment and terrestrial, marine and associated ecosystems contribute to the natural or cultural heritage or economy of an inhabited island).
4. Island rurality can exacerbate inequality already experienced on account of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. These characteristics are known as "protected characteristics" as defined in the Equality Act 2010. Issues which impact on all islanders to some extent, such as those relating to access to transport or adequate housing for example, may be acutely felt by some groups more than others and require targeted measures in order to redress the inequality experienced. We are publishing a separate Equalities Impact Assessment.
5. The Island Communities Impact Assessments: Guidance And Toolkit sets out an approach for undertaking an ICIA (see diagram below). There is an initial screening stage ('Section 7 assessment'), followed by an additional impact assessment stage ('Section 8 assessment') if required following screening. The third stage is the publication of relevant documents. This document constitutes the ICIA and incorporates screening (A) and impact assessment (B), and it completes the process by being published.
6. This ICIA is for the Heat in Buildings Strategy published on 7 October 2021.
7. As we take forward the actions within the Heat in Buildings Strategy we will ensure that the issues highlighted here are considered in the design of delivery programmes and development of further policy and regulation. Where further policy development takes place, additional ICIAs will be considered.
8. The 2021-22 Programme For Government contains a commitment to support Carbon Neutral Islands (including pilots for islands to run on 100% renewable energy, with at least 6 islands over this Parliament enabled to become fully carbon neutral by 2040, as forerunners to a net zero Scotland by 2045).
9. We will also publish an Islands Energy Strategy in 2022 with a focus on resilience and sustainability of island energy systems for the future, and on supporting islands' transition to net zero emissions.