Par­lia­ment to scru­ti­nise gov­ern­ment’s Is­lands Bill

The Oban Times - - News -

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

The bill was in­tro­duced to Holy­rood last month and it is hoped will ‘is­land-proof’ gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tion.

This means that ev­ery law in­tro­duced will need to be suit­able for in­tro­duc­tion to the is­lands and that it is sus­tain­able; if not, re­sources must be found to make it so.

Com­mit­tee con­vener Ed­ward Moun­tain MSP said: ‘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 Septem­ber 25.

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