Parliamentary Committee to scrutinise Scottish Government’s Islands Bill

30.06.2017

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee is encouraging individuals and organisations to share their views on how to give more power and protection to Scotland’s islands, as it examines the Scottish Government’s Islands (Scotland) Bill.

Convener of the Committee, Edward Mountain MSP commented:

“The Committee’s call for views is an opportunity for people with direct experience of living, working and voting on the islands to influence their future by voicing their views and opinions on the issues that matter to them.

“The Scottish Government’s bill covers significant issues, such as helping ensure that whenever new legislation is introduced, the economic growth and sustainability of Scotland’s islands will be an important factor; and providing a power for Scottish Ministers to create a marine licensing scheme for coastal waters. Its ambitious aim is to provide a more strategic approach that enables Scotland’s islands to continue to flourish. It is crucial the Committee thoroughly scrutinises these proposals to ensure they fully meet the needs of our island communities.”

The Convener continued:

“Over the next six months we hope to hear opinions from across the country. As well as taking evidence at Holyrood, the Committee will visit campaigners and individuals on the islands for views on the Bill’s proposals. It’s crucial that the valuable knowledge, experience and expertise of everyone in Scotland with an interest in the future of our islands feed into our work wherever possible.”

The deadline for submitting evidence to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee is Monday 25 September 2017. The Committee will produce a report on the Scottish Government’s Islands Bill at Stage 1 after it has concluded its evidence taking in autumn.

Background

The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee scrutinises policy proposals relating to rural affairs, transport and connectivity. It comes to a view after taking comprehensive evidence from, and engaging with, a wide range of stakeholders ‘on the frontline’ and applies authoritative, expert, effective and influential scrutiny to policy.

Photographs of the Committee and Convener are available free of charge.

Call for Evidence

The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee invite all interested individuals and organisations to submit written evidence on the Islands (Scotland) Bill and its likely impact. The Committee welcomes views on all of the Bill’s proposals. In particular, the Committee would like to hear your views on the following questions:

  1. The Bill creates a duty to publish a national islands plan and lay it before the Scottish Parliament. What are your views on this provision?
  2. The Bill will require Scottish Ministers and certain Scottish public authorities, to prepare island impact assessments. Do you agree with this provision? How do you think it should work in practice?
  3. The Bill proposes to protect the Scottish Parliamentary constituency boundary of Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles) from change. Do you agree with this?
  4. The Bill proposes to make an exception to the rules for local government electoral wards to allow areas with inhabited islands to return 1 or 2 members (instead of the usual 3 or 4). What are your views on this proposal?
  5. The Bill will provide a regulation-making power for the Scottish Ministers to create a marine licensing scheme for coastal waters. Do you agree with this power? Do you have any comments on how it should be used?
  6. Does the Bill achieve its aims and are you in favour overall? Is there anything else that you feel should be included or excluded from the Bill?
  7. Do you have any comments on the bill in relation to human rights or equalities?

Please feel free to answer all questions or focus your answer on areas of particular interest.

Purpose of the Bill
The Bill is intended to give effect to a range of policy changes to improve outcomes for island communities in Scotland.

How to submit your evidence
Before making a submission, please read our Policy on Treatment of Written Evidence by Subject and Mandatory Committees.

Please send your views no later than Mon 25 September 2017.