The National Plan for Scotland's Islands

The National Islands Plan provides a framework for action in order to meaningfully improve outcomes for island communities. This replaces the proposed plan published in October 2019.


1 Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, section 2(1) provides the following definition: “island” means a naturally formed area of land which is— “(a) surrounded on all sides by the sea (ignoring artificial structures such as bridges), and (b) above water at high tide.”

2 Our Islands Our Future, Joint Position Statement:

3 Scottish Parliament, Official Report, Island Areas Ministerial Working Group, Prospectus, Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities, June 2014.

4 UK Government and the three Scottish Island Councils, Framework for the Islands, 2014:

5 Islands (Scotland) Act, section 3(2).

6 Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, section 4 (1) (a).

7 Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, section 4(1) (b).

8 Methodologies used in the consultation and

9 Reports from all the islands visited are available here:

10 See European Commission, European Spatial Development Perspective, 1999:


12 The First Ministers Advisory Group report on Human rights Leadership can be found here:–Leadership-Final-report-for-publication.pdf. In June 2019, the Scottish Government announced that the Advisory Group’s recommendations will be taken forward by a new national task force.

13 The European Commission defines blue economy as all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts.

14 The Climate Change Plan:

15 The Community Empowerment Act:

16 2016-based subnational population projections for Scottish areas:

17 2016-based subnational population projections for Scottish areas:

18 Some island communities face the challenge of residents currently being unable to travel to and from Scotland’s cities in the same day while undertaking a day’s work. Island communities can also face additional freight costs, such as to get goods to market or importing energy sources or building materials and labour. Additional charges for deliveries can be a challenge.

19 Scottish Government, National Planning Framework 3, June 2014:

20 The draft NTS is built around a strategic framework which sets our vision statement: We will have a sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport system helping to deliver a healthier, fairer and more prosperous Scotland for communities and visitors. This vision is underpinned by four themes: Promotes Equality; Takes Climate Action; Helps our Economy Prosper; and Improves our Health and Wellbeing. Building on this collaborative approach, 14 policies, which flow from the four themes, have been developed and informed by engagement with stakeholders. Following the NTS consultation, Transport Scotland will share their findings, in relation to island communities, with us and use the information provided to develop a Delivery Plan which will seek to address the different Transport challenges faced across Scotland different areas and regions. The finalised NTS will be published in January 2020 and the Delivery Plan to accompany the Strategy will be published later the same year.

21 STPR2 will follow Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG). It will be evidence-based, objective-led, transport appraisal which will address transport problems in achieving the NTS outcomes and consider what transport investment is required to achieve them. Appraising the options which best perform against objectives and assessment criteria. Stakeholder consultation is also part of the evidence base. This robust process follows the principles of the Scottish Public Finance Manual and HM Treasury Green Book for Government spend. Therefore, it is deemed that STPR2 is the most appropriate route to determine strategic transport investments for our island communities. STPR2 will also inform Transport Scotland’s Ferries Plan 2, with respect to strategic investment.


23 Scottish Parliament, Planning (Scotland) Act 2019:

24 Reaching 100% programme is striving to extend the availability of Next Generation Access broadband infrastructure to meet the Scottish Government’s commitment to deliver superfast broadband access to 100% of premises in Scotland by 2021:

25 In its December 2018 report, the First Minister’s Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership explicitly recognised the importance of environmental rights, alongside civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Its recommendations will now be taken forward by a National Taskforce:

26 Map extracted from Energy Saving Trust database

27 Scottish Government, Scottish Planning Policy, 2014:

28 Lisbon Treaty, art. 174: “In order to promote its overall harmonious development, the Union shall develop and pursue its actions leading to the strengthening of its economic, social and territorial cohesion. In particular, the Union shall aim at reducing disparities between the levels of development of the various regions and the backwardness of the least favoured regions. Among the regions concerned, particular attention shall be paid to rural areas, areas affected by industrial transition, and regions which suffer from severe and permanent natural or demographic handicaps such as the northernmost regions with very low population density and island, cross-border and mountain regions.”

29 The prospectus for cooperation, knowledge-exchange and policy partnerships between Scotland and the Arctic:




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