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Publication - Progress report

National islands plan: annual report - 2020

The Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 requires that a report is presented to Parliament each year setting out the progress made towards delivery of the National Islands Plan. The National Islands Plan annual report 2020 is the first of these reports.

73 page PDF

591.7 kB

73 page PDF

591.7 kB

Contents
National islands plan: annual report - 2020
Climate Change and Energy

73 page PDF

591.7 kB

Climate Change and Energy

Strategic Objective 9 - To contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation and promote clean, affordable and secure energy

We committed to work with island communities to support their climate change aspirations.

Work has yet to be progressed in relation to this commitment.

Progress towards this commitment has been difficult to achieve due to COVID-19. However, we will make this a priority in the coming year via the Island Strategic Group and other relevant island stakeholders, whilst working to highlight our islands at COP26 in Glasgow.

We continued to work with island communities to look at alternative solutions to managing waste, particularly in respect of Scotland's Circular Economy Strategy.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

Continued engagement indicates a growing interest in adopting the circular economy approach in relation to energy in reducing unnecessary waste in the system and across the wider Scottish economy. The circular economy approach is already having an effect in the manufacturing sector, with more thought given to the use and reuse of materials in manufacturing processes.

An example of a circular economy approach can be seen in the Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub. This project involves the transfer of fish waste from SSC's processing plant on the Isle of Lewis, which is integrated with other local household and garden waste to produce biogas in an anaerobic digester at the CnES Household Waste and Recycling Centre in Creed. The biogas fuels a Combined Heat and Power plant, with some of the electricity generated used to drive an electrolyser which in turn produces hydrogen and oxygen for use at SSC's hatchery in Lewis, as well as providing fuel for CnES's hydrogen-powered bin lorry. This project is the first of its kind in Scotland and will help sustain the local economy.

We committed to work with local authorities to help them work towards their statutory targets.

Work has yet to be progressed in relation to this commitment.

However, we will work in collaboration with our local authorities in the coming year to best support their climate change ambitions.

We committed to work towards creating net zero emission islands and providing global climate change leadership.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

The Local Energy Policy Statement (LEPS), published January 2021, sets out the importance in recognising the individual characteristics of an area, and its community, in planning the transition to a net zero future. Each local area, or island community, will have different physical characteristics, for example, geography, building stock, and existing energy infrastructure. Equally, each area will also have its own ambitions and priorities, such as reducing fuel poverty, increasing life expectancy, improving employability, creating new employment opportunities, and reducing declining populations. LEPS delivery framework set outs it's support to inform decisions of both those participating, and those developing energy projects which are contributing to the energy systems transition to a low carbon future.

Additionally, Local Energy Scotland (LES) continue to deliver the Scottish Government's Community and Renewable Energy Scheme (CARES) supporting community groups and organisations and rural SME's to explore their renewable energy options. CARES advice and funding support is available to communities across Scotland, including our island communities. CARES has supported 87 island renewables projects to date.

We committed to put in place resilient adaptation plans on islands that are at greater risk from climate change linking these strongly with development plans for those islands.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

The Dynamic Coast 2 Project will launch in 2021 and will assess how sea level rise will increase and accelerate coastal erosion and impact assets along our coast. Outputs from the project will include detailed analysis of coastal change on Tiree and at Bay of Skaill, Orkney.

We announced a new budget of £12 million (over four years from 2022-23) for coastal change adaptation in the Programme for Government. Officials are discussing how the budget will be allocated. However, priority will be given to projects that protect and work with nature, including those on our islands.

The Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership has set up a Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) tasked with improving understanding of climate change, building collaboration across organisations and developing actions to embed in the Local Outcomes Improvement Plan. Adaptation Scotland is working with the CCWG to deliver an adaptation project which is gathering evidence on how the Outer Hebrides are being impacted by climate change, planning an effective approach to involving communities, and assessing climate risks and opportunities to inform the development of adaptation actions. As part of this work, specialist input from the Met Office has been secured to develop climate storylines for the Outer Hebrides. This will focus on communicating climate trends and projections in a way that is accessible and engaging for communities, and is the first project of its kind in the UK. Nature Scot, who chair the CCWG, have recruited a graduate student placement until September 2021 to support this work.

Adaptation Scotland is also supporting Community Planning Partners on the Orkney Islands, who are committed to jointly responding to the Climate Emergency and the green recovery for the islands, including delivery of adaptation work. Orkney Islands Council has recruited a new climate change post which includes a strong emphasis on climate change adaptation and will support the development of this work.

We committed to work closely with island partners, the network owner and all other key stakeholders to deliver existing proposals for electricity transmission links to mainland Scotland.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

The Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands will write to Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP (Minister for Energy) in 2021 to highlight the key issues and challenges facing renewable generation and infrastructure development across Scotland's main islands, and the need to maximise our islands' potential in order to achieve our decarbonisation targets.

We committed to work with Resilience Partnerships and energy providers to encourage them to focus on the resilience of islands' energy supply networks.

Work has yet to be progressed in relation to this commitment.

However, we will work in collaboration with Resilience Partnerships to encourage them to focus on the resilience of islands' energy supply networks.

We committed to work with transport-related stakeholders to have the most energy-efficient and climate-friendly transport services possible across the islands.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

In terms of aviation, we have committed to decarbonising scheduled flights within Scotland by 2040 and will work with the sector to encourage sustainable growth post COVID-19. As announced in our Programme for Government we will aim to create the world's first zero emission aviation region in partnership with Highlands and Islands Airports. The New Climate Change Plan update also commits to exploring the potential for the purchase of zero/low emission aircraft by the Scottish Government, for lease back to operators, with more detailed assessment expected in the forthcoming Aviation Strategy.

The New Climate Change Plan update also states that 30% of Scottish Government owned ferries will be low emission by 2032. This is supported by a commitment to continue to examine the scope for utilising hybrid and low carbon energy sources in the public sector marine fleet as part of our vessel replacement programme. Additionally, as part of the Islands Connectivity Plan, we will explore and consult on pathways to zero/low emission ferry transport, learning from experience in other countries.

In terms of road infrastructure, a sustainable investment hierarchy is embedded in the second STPR2 which is considering future transport investment plans. The Review will cover the strategic road and rail networks, and national infrastructure investment to support active travel and island connectivity. Phase 1 was published on 3 February 2021. Phase 2 will be published in Autumn 2021. Together, Phase 1 and Phase 2 will set out Scottish Government's transport investment priorities for the next 20 years.

Funding continues to be provided to all local authorities to enable them to grow and develop zero carbon transport infrastructure such as EV charging.

We committed to continue working to unleash the potential of renewable energy as both a way to mitigate climate change and as a driver of sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

Scottish Government remains committed to supporting the expansion of renewable energy technology across our islands, with details of our current and new policies set out in the Climate Change Plan Update (CCPU).

Scottish Government will also publish the energy strategy position statement ahead of the 2021 pre-election period which will provide a comprehensive overview of how we are contributing to a green economic recovery, in respect of energy, whilst remaining aligned to our net zero ambitions.

We committed to work with communities, crofters, farmers and landowners to expand forests and woodlands on the islands, recognising wider land-use objectives.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

Scottish Government continues to support sustainable woodland creation through the Forestry Grant Scheme (FGS) delivered by Scottish Forestry. Increased support is available for woodland creation on the Na h-Eileanan an Lar and Northern Isles recognising the additional costs of planting trees in these areas. Work is underway across the islands with communities, crofters, farmers and landowners to expand the area of forests and woodlands to support the delivery of the Climate Change Plan annual tree planting target, to sequester carbon, enhance biodiversity and support economic development.

An example of this is near Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye where a 239 hectare woodland creation project has been approved. The planting on the Macleod's Estate will be predominantly of native broadleaves which will greatly expand the existing native woodland habitats and is planned to be completed by the end of 2021.

Since 2015, Scottish Forestry have worked with a range of partners including the Woodland Trust and Point and Sandwick Trust to deliver the Croft Woodlands Project, which covers all islands, including Argyll and Arran, providing advice and support for crofters. Under the initiative around 640 hectares of new woodland has been created, a total of 829 site visits have been carried out and 678 people have been on training courses throughout crofting counties.

An example of a project supported under the Croft Woodland Project is on the Shetland Islands. Support and approval of FGS funding to plant 2,500 trees on Burravoe Croft will help the crofter meet their woodland expansion aims. The project will revitalise the croft business and support diversification, and the tree planting will provide shelter belts for livestock and a scenic setting for glamping pods.

We committed to put the themes of meeting emissions targets and adapting to the effects of climate change at the heart of the preparation of National Planning Framework 4.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

Our current thinking on the direction of travel for National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4) was set out in the NPF4 Position Statement published in November 2020. It identifies four key outcomes that we expect NPF4 to focus on achieving: net-zero emissions, resilient communities, a wellbeing economy, and better, greener places. The preparation of this next generation of planning policy is a significant opportunity to help deliver the Climate Change Plan update, rapidly providing a coherent vision for carbon conscious places.

The Position Statement notes that it is right to develop island areas in a different way to urban centres and highlights that ongoing work is exploring policy changes to support prosperous and sustainable rural and island communities. Sustainable travel for island communities and climate change resilience for coastal communities are highlighted with broader opportunities including renewable energy generation, low and zero carbon design, new models of low carbon living, the circular economy, green infrastructure and biodiversity. The Position Statement notes that it is right to develop island areas in a different way to urban centres and highlights that ongoing work is exploring policy changes to support prosperous and sustainable rural and island communities. Sustainable travel for island communities and climate change resilience for coastal communities are highlighted with broader opportunities including renewable energy generation, low and zero carbon design, new models of low carbon living, the circular economy, green infrastructure and biodiversity.

We committed to support the adaptation of Scotland's aquaculture and fishing industry.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

Scottish Government published the 2020 Marine Climate Change Impact Partnership (MCCIP) Review Card, including briefing papers on projected climate impacts on the fishing and aquaculture sectors that affect our island communities. We have also established the Farmed Fish Health Framework and Fisheries Innovation Scotland to further support Scotland's aquaculture and fishing industry.

We committed to work with a range of stakeholders to develop an action plan to improve resilience to properties at flood risk.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

Scottish Government launched the 'Living with Flooding' Action Plan in November 2019. We are now working with the Property Flood Resilience Delivery Group to deliver the action plan.

We committed to work with local authorities to strengthen recycling and food waste services in island communities.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

This year's Programme for Government announced a £70 million Recycling Improvement Fund, to support local authorities in improving recycling infrastructure. The Recycling Improvement Fund will be available to all local authorities, including our island authorities, over the next five years from 2021/22. Through the joint Scottish Government & Local Government Strategic Steering Group on Circular Economy and Waste, we are continuing to work with COSLA, SOLACE, representatives from the Waste Management Officers' Network and Zero Waste Scotland to agree an approach to distribution of the fund and identify opportunities to maximise its impact. Particular consideration is being given to how best to support local authorities in developing and delivering projects, addressing local circumstances and priorities.

Our Programme for Government 2019/20 also included a commitment to consult on the current rural exemption for food waste collections and review the food waste separation requirements. We will publish a consultation on the range of commitments identified in the 2019 Food Waste Reduction Action Plan in due course.

We committed to work closely with key stakeholders to ensure that the voices of islanders are fully heard, achieving a just transition to net-zero, and that islands benefit from the many opportunities associated with a green and sustainable economy.

Work is ongoing in relation to this commitment.

Launched in January 2021, the Local Energy Systems Scottish Industry Network (LESSIN), a key initiative in the Local Energy Policy Statement, is a pan-Scotland programme supported by the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the European Regional Development Fund. The project seeks to facilitate and deliver the collaborative measures necessary to decarbonise the whole energy system.

Collaboration between tech companies, project managers, regulators, networks and investors within the network will enable businesses to innovate and grow in response to consumer need, producing investment, innovation and internationalisation.

The project will provide a platform for the sector to collaborate and share knowledge and lessons learned, which will be of benefit to island communities. It will facilitate the growth of inclusive employment opportunities and allow for local energy projects to support the creation of jobs and provide support to the development and strengthening of the Scottish supply chain.

We are also currently in the process of developing our Islands Energy Strategy which we committed to in the publication of our January 2021 Local Energy Policy Statement. This Islands Energy Strategy will be implemented to complement the existing National Islands Plan, ensuring the continued resilience of energy across Scottish islands and providing support to islands and their communities in their decarbonisation plan. We are currently seeking the views of relevant policy leads across Scottish Government in advance of consulting with stakeholders.


Contact

Email: info@islandsteam.scot