Section 13 of the 2018 Act obliges the Scottish Ministers to prepare an ICIA in relation to legislation which, in their opinion, is likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities in Scotland. Although this section of the 2018 Act is not yet in force, given the relevance of the Fuel Poverty Bill to island communities highlighted during the consultation on the draft Fuel Poverty Strategy, the call for evidence by the Local Government and Communities Committee ("the Committee") and in the Committee's Stage 1 report on the Fuel Poverty Bill, the Scottish Government committed to conducting an ICIA in the spirit of the 2018 Act prior to the commencement of Stage 3 of the parliamentary process for the Fuel Poverty Bill.
Work on the guidance and template for the ICIA is currently being progressed in tandem with work on the National Islands Plan with a view to ensuring this is in place as soon as possible. An ambitious consultation exercise to inform the development of the National Islands Plan and ICIA's guidance was launched on 6 April. Around 50 consultation events are being held across 40 of our islands in the coming weeks and local people will also be asked to share the positives of island life, as well as examples of good practice where policy works well, so that the Plan takes into account all aspects of life in some of Scotland's most remote communities.
In the spirit of section 13 of the 2018 Act, this ICIA has:
- Identified and described areas where the Fuel Poverty Bill will have an effect on an island community which is likely to be significantly different from its effect on other communities (including other island communities);
- Consulted and worked with island communities to develop the assessment of the extent to which the Scottish Ministers consider that the Fuel Poverty Bill can be developed in such a manner as to improve or mitigate, for island communities, the outcomes resulting from it;
- Considered and proposed mitigation or actions to support the aim of reducing fuel poverty within the island communities in the context of the Fuel Poverty Bill; and
- Considered any financial implications of the above.