Parliament to scrutinise government’s Islands Bill
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.