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Reviewing Scotland’s National Islands Plan: Share Your Views

Published in 2019 Scotland’s National Islands Plan was hailed as a game changer. Has it created the transformational changes required in central government and in public bodies that it was intended to do? What needs to improve?

The public can share their views by clicking on this link: National Islands Plan Review Consultation

The consultation closes on 9th October 2023.

Our Islands Our Future was a superb collaboration between the councils of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles. Instigated by the then Leader of OIC, Councillor Steven Heddle, it eventually led to the Scottish Parliament passing The Islands (Scotland) Act in 2018.

Taking the Act forward into actual practice is the task of the Islands Plan. There was extensive consultation work done during the process to improve how public bodies and every layer of government work together to address the needs of islands. Impact assessments were to be carried out before any changes were made to policies and operational strategies, at any level.

Is this working?

The National Islands Plan (2019)

Two notable failures stand out: Shelved: HIAL’s Remote Towers Project and Highly Protected Marine Areas Scheme Scrapped

Both these developments were well underway before the strong views of islanders against them were listened to. And both projects are still lying in wait for a time to return despite the huge opposition to them.

Islands have also been impacted, like everywhere else, but maybe more so, by the UK leaving the world’s largest free trade area, the EU, and by the Covid pandemic, still lingering on in communities and affecting the provision of health services.

The loss of EU funding to our island communities is measured in £millions. The ending of free movement has been disastrous for young people and musicians. It has led to staffing shortages across many sectors.

Scotland is an islands nation.

Ministers may decide to revise or develop a new National Islands Plan. The consultation process for this will be dependent on the outcome of this initial consultation, and the degree to which it indicates that the current National Islands Plan needs to be redrafted.

Responding to this Consultation

By midnight 9 October 2023

Please respond to this consultation using the Scottish Government’s consultation hub, Citizen Space.

Access and respond to this consultation online.

You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open.

Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date of 9 October 2023.

If you are unable to respond using our consultation hub, please complete the Respondent Information Form to:

Islands Policy Team
Scottish Government
Longman House

Fiona Grahame

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