There is real local enthusiasm for the creation of a National Islands Plan, according to the Argyll Islands Strategic Group.
Following the most recent meeting of the group, Argyll and Bute Council has submitted its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the Islands (Scotland) Bill, which is designed to empower Scotland’s island communities while recognising the needs of residents.
Councillor Robin Currie, chair of the Argyll Islands Strategic Group and Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Communities, Housing, Islands and Gaelic, said:
“This has been extremely constructive exercise to progress a national consultation in an effective local way. It also ensures that the council is able to properly represent the views of our island residents.
The group agreed that this should lead to the creation of an Argyll and Bute Islands Plan which would help island communities overcome the challenges they face and boost their local economies. It was also agreed that the proposed reporting mechanism would make Scottish Government more accountable to island communities, who should have strong and effective input to the development process.
Councillor Currie added:
"The Islands (Scotland) Bill acknowledges the unique needs of our islands and provides the support mechanism to facilitate further empowerment, help them prosper and grow. I look forward to the bill passing through the Scottish Parliament legislative process and for our island communities helping produce the National Island Plans which will be a major component of the new Act.”
The group hosted a number of conferences, by telephone and video, with representatives of a number of island communities and the submission represented the views of those who took part.
Argyll and Bute has 23 inhabited islands, each with its own distinct identity. The council set up the Argyll Islands Strategic Group to take forward initiatives and to work together with other island councils to represent the communities it represents.
The submission can be viewed at – https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/moderngov/documents/s120242/Islands%20Bill%20Consultation%20Response.pdf
The consultation on the terms of the Islands (Scotland) Bill is available at - http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/105389.aspx and is open until 25th September 2017.