Holyrood comes to Orkney to hear views on Islands Bill
The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee will hold a public meeting in Orkney on Monday evening (2 October).
The Committee is seeking the views of local people and organisations as it considers the potential impact of the Scottish Government’s Islands (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill has comes about as a direct result of the Our Islands Our Future campaign, which was initiated by the councils in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
Representatives of Orkney Islands Council and Shetland Islands Council will give evidence on ways to support, develop and protect island communities.
The Committee is encouraging local people to join the audience and take part in a question and answer session.
The meeting takes places from 18:30 to 21:00 at the Orkney Theatre. To book free tickets, please contact the Scottish Parliament’s Visitor Services by email or telephone on 01313485200.
Convener of the Committee, Edward Mountain MSP, said: “During our visit we hope to hear from local people with direct experience of living and working in Orkney, on the issues that matter to them.
“The Scottish Government’s Bill 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.”
He added: “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.
“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.”
While the Committee is in 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.