The views of local people and organisations on the future of Scotland’s islands will come into focus when the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee visits Orkney this October.
The Committee will examine the potential impact of the Scottish Government’s Islands (Scotland) Bill, and local people are being encouraged to join a public meeting at Kirkwall Theatre on Monday 2 October. Shetland and Orkney Council representatives will give evidence on ways to support, develop and protect Scotland’s islands, and those attending can take part through a public Q&A session.
While the Committee is on Orkney, a range of fact-finding visits will include meetings with the European Marine Energy Centre, and Birsay Development Trust. At Kirkwall Town Hall, young people will be invited to share with MSPs their hopes and aspirations for island life in the future.
Convener of the Committee, Edward Mountain MSP commented:
“During the Committee’s visit we hope to hear from local people with direct experience of living and working on Orkney, on the issues that matter to them. Orkney and Shetland already have some of the measures in place that the Bill proposes to extend to other islands. At our public meeting the Committee wants to hear how well these are working, and we are encouraging as many local people as possible to join us, ask questions and find out more."
The Convener continued:
“The Scottish Government’s bill also covers significant issues, such as the requirement to make sure new policies and legislation don’t disadvantage the islands, and marine licensing for coastal waters. The Committee’s role is to ensure that the bill contains the right measures to deliver on these objectives.
“Over the next six months, as well as taking evidence at the Scottish Parliament, we hope to hear opinions from across a variety of island areas. This is an opportunity to help shape the future of Scotland’s islands, and it’s vital the valuable knowledge and experience of local people living in Orkney is heard.”
The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee is holding its meeting in Orkney on Monday 2 October 2017 from 6:30pm to 9pm at Kirkwall Theatre.
The Committee will hear evidence from both the Orkney Islands Council and Shetland Islands Council. The meeting will conclude with a Q & A session with the audience.
The Committee is very keen that local people attend the meeting and participate in the following Q&A session. To book free tickets for the meeting, please contact the Parliament’s Visitor Services by email [email protected] or telephone 0131 348 5200.
For more information please contact [email protected] or telephone 0131 348 5882.
The Committee will produce a report on the Scottish Government’s Islands Bill at Stage 1 after it has concluded its evidence taking in the coming months.
The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee scrutinises policy proposals relating to rural affairs, transport and digital 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.