Orkney Islands Council has welcomed the outcome of today’s Islands Bill debate in the Scottish Parliament as an historic and momentous day for Scotland’s island communities.
Measures to strengthen the Bill put forward by the Council have all been achieved.
These measures will:
- Provide opportunities for the further devolution of powers to island communities.
- Allow ‘island proofing’ of existing as well as future policies and legislation, to ensure these take into account the special circumstances of island communities – and do not disadvantage people living and working in the islands.
- Enable the Council to have a far greater say in marine planning matters affecting the waters around Orkney.
OIC Leader James Stockan said:
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government and MSPs from other parties have listened to our case and have ensured that this will be fit-for-purpose legislation that delivers transformational support for island communities for many years to come.
“We have worked hard to achieve this. We have lobbied the Government and MSPs from across the political spectrum at Holyrood. This is an historic and momentous achievement for all involved.”
Moving forward, the three Island authorities in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles are bringing forward proposals for an ambitious Islands Deal that will be transformational for the economies and communities of the islands.
Councillor Stockan said: “We are rightly proud of the unique contribution our islands make to the economic prosperity, cultural diversity and international reputation of Scotland and the United Kingdom, but we recognise we can offer so much more with the right level of strategic investment.
“Securing that investment through an Islands Deal is the focus for the next phase of collaboration between our three island authorities and we look forward to the strong support of the Scottish and UK Governments in that process.”