James Stockan Leader of Orkney Islands Council has reaffirmed the counties commitment to the Islands Bill now progressing through the Scottish Parliament.
James Stockan, said:
“We will continue working together with our islands’ colleagues to ensure that the Islands Bill works in a tangible manner. As we come to the challenging process of having the Bill pass through Parliament, we need to ensure that we get the results which directly benefit our communities. We believe that increased local accountability, decision making and control is critical to future management of resources.”
The Islands Bill comes after many years of consultations, negotiations and extremely hard work by all 3 Island Authorities and the Scottish Government. Councillor Steven Heddle, who stood down as the OIC Leader this year was instrumental in getting this to the stage it is at now. Starting out in 2013 with ‘Our Islands Our Future’ and progressing through many discussions including the important issues of the Crown Estate, social and economic matters, energy, renewables, transport and how we are represented locally.
The Scottish Parliament is seeking the views of the public, ( no later than Monday 25 September 2017) about what we think about the Islands Bill. It is the First Stage of a National Islands Plan. Islanders Asked for Views
Councillor Stockan’s comments came after a meeting of the Islands Strategic Group chaired by Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands.
Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Roddie MacKay, said:
“ We are committed to fully utilizing our islands’ resources and to see the islands thrive and contribute to national wellbeing throughout the 21st century in Scotland. The measures in the Islands Bill underpin this aim.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Islands Minister, Humza Yousaf, the Scottish Government, our Island colleagues and all those who are contributing to this historic, empowering and progressive step forward in the futures of island communities.”
Leader of Shetland Islands Council, Cecil Smith, said:
“We look forward to developing the positive work undertaken by our predecessors in these roles……. discussions with the Minister were very productive and set the agenda for transformational change for the future welfare of our islands.”
The Islands Bill has within it huge opportunities for Orkney with more control over some areas of our governance. As both Spider Man’s Uncle Ben and the lesser known Voltaire have said “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. The areas of the Crown Estate and Planning will be covered in a separate Bill but this legislation is of utmost importance to Orkney. For more information see What is the Islands Bill?
“A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to make provision for a national islands plan; to impose duties in relation to island communities on certain public authorities; to make provision about the electoral representation of island communities; and to establish a licensing scheme in respect of marine development adjacent to islands. “
Reporter: Fiona Grahame