William Eichler 13 June 2017

Holyrood introduces ‘first ever’ Islands Bill

Holyrood introduces ‘first ever’ Islands Bill image

A bill dedicated to protecting the ‘unique needs’ of Scotland’s islands was introduced to the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

The Islands (Scotland) Bill -- the first ever bill for Scotland’s islands -- will ‘island proof’ future legislation and policies in order to help create the right environment for sustainable growth and empowered communities.

The bill will provide for a National Islands Plan and will bring in statutory protection for the Na h-Eileanan an lar Scottish parliamentary constituency boundary.

It will also give greater flexibility around councillor representation within island communities, and extend powers to island councils in relation to marine licencing.

‘This government is committed to promoting islands’ voices, to harnessing islands’ resources and enhancing their well-being. The measures in this bill underpin this ambition,’ said Islands Minister Humza Yousaf.

‘In particular, the provision to ‘island-proof’ decision-making across the public sector will ensure the interests of islanders are reflected in future legislation and policy from the very outset.

‘The National Islands Plan will set out the strategic direction for supporting island communities, continuing the momentum generated by the ‘Our Islands Our Future’ campaign and the work of the Islands Strategic Group.’

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