MSP launches consultation on remote rural communities bill
A consultation has been launched on a remote rural communities bill that would offer similar protection for mainland communities as the 2018 Islands Act does for Scottish islands.
Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross is proposing the legislation, which would mean public bodies would have to take the impact on remote rural communities into account when making policy.
Like the Islands Act, the bill would also create a duty for Scottish ministers to publish a national remote rural plan.
According to Ross, the bill to take into account remote rural areas will complement other pieces of legislation, such as the Islands Act, the Community Empowerment Act and the Land Reform Act.
Ross said: “Protection for our remote, rural communities has never been more vital.
“These communities have massive potential in agriculture, food and drink, renewable energy and tourism – and they must be given the tools they need to tap into that.
“However, people living in rural and remote communities do face additional challenges, including population decline, recruitment and retention of staff, and access to services.
“For the next three months everyone in Scotland will have the opportunity to contribute to the development of this bill and have their say on how remote communities in Scotland can build on success and prosper.
“I would encourage as many people as possible who live, work and interact in Scotland’s remote rural communities to take part in this consultation to ensure that any new plan reflects the needs and challenges that our remote and rural communities can face.”
The consultation will run until 31 January 2020.