It is my great pleasure to invite you to contribute to this important and historic consultation exercise. Your input and views will help us to shape the content of Scotland’s first ever National Islands Plan and Island Communities Impact Assessments.
I am extremely proud to be leading on this work. Our islands are wonderful places to live, study and visit. Each island is highly valued and each contributes to Scotland as a whole in terms of their culture, economic growth, energy supplies and their appeal to international visitors. In addition, the people who live in our island communities are a tremendous asset. Our islanders are talented and full of entrepreneurial spirit. But, I recognise that there are challenges - not least around perceptions of remoteness. That is why we are seeking your ideas to develop and populate the National Islands Plan - to help our island communities to not just survive, but to thrive.
The challenges islands face heighten my admiration for the resilience and spirit of our islanders and I firmly believe that the development of the first National Islands Plan represents a genuine opportunity to shape the future. Our islands have their own unique heritage, landscapes and terrestrial and marine biodiversity and it is the need to maintain and enhance these valued assets that underpins the way forward.
I would like the National Islands Plan to be ambitious, to set out a long-term vision for what our islands can achieve and to make sure that the things that make our islands so special will not only continue to be protected, but flourish.
I very much look forward to hearing your ideas and views and thank you for participating in this important process.
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands