Government legislation puts focus on Scotland’s islands

The wide-ranging report puts a focus on the Scottish islands to tackle issues that affect them. Photograph: Scottish Government

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As 2020 is The Year of Coasts and Waters it is appropriate that the Scottish Government has put their focus on Scotland’s islands with the National Islands Plan.

The plan aims to improve the quality of life for island communities and sets out 13 objectives to do so.

There are more than 100 specific measures to support those objectives to address the likes of population decline, tackle climate change and improve transport, housing, the delivery of public services and digital connectivity.

It follows an extensive consultation which included 61 events and meetings on 40 islands across Scotland and attended by almost 1,000 people of all ages and backgrounds. The online consultation received a further 400 responses.

Scotland’s Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: ‘I am proud to introduce Scotland’s first National Islands Plan – an historic milestone that began with the passing of the Islands (Scotland) Act last year.

‘The plan has been created with the input of many islanders and those with a stake in our islands’ future and I am extremely grateful for all their contributions and ideas.

‘Since spring this year, we have visited 40 islands, engaged online and consulted with stakeholders. I hope those who took part will recognise this unparalleled level of engagement with islanders has been captured in the final plan and that the plan reflects the priorities identified by those who live and work in these communities.

‘The plan is a key milestone, but it cannot be allowed to just sit on a shelf – I now look forward to working with colleagues and partner organisations to put the plan into action. Through the plan’s development, Scotland is showing our island communities that they are very important to our nation, we care about their futures and that their voices are strong and being heard.’