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Scottish Government calls for islanders’ input to inform first national islands plan

Scottish Government calls for islanders’ input to inform first national islands plan

Stornoway - Image credit: Andrew Bennett via Flickr

Residents on Scotland’s islands are being asked to give their views in a consultation to inform Scotland’s first national islands plan.

The Scottish Government consultation asks island residents to share opinions on the specific challenges they face, such as population retention, connectivity, economic development, housing and transport links.

But the government is also keen to hear the positives of island life, as well as examples of good practice where policy works well, so that the plan takes into account all aspects of life in Scotland’s island communities.

Commenting on the consultation launch during a visit to Canna in the Inner Hebrides, Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The passage of the first ever act of parliament aimed specifically at islanders’ needs and the positive contributions made to Scotland by our islands marked an historic milestone for our island communities.

“This included providing formal recognition of their unique characteristics and challenges, and tailoring policy to support our islands effectively.

“Now we are asking residents and other stakeholders what their concerns are, and where we should be focussing resources in future to help our islands and all who live on them flourish.

“This is an opportunity for us to develop a strategic direction for optimising support to island communities, taking into account factors like ageing populations, public service provision, biodiversity and enhancing skillsets.

“Of course, it’s also about working closely with local authorities and partner agencies to find and build on the undoubted positives associated with island life.

“We also want to learn lessons from policy successes that have been achieved across island communities.

“I’m delighted to be able to launch the consultation here on the beautiful island of Canna and I sincerely hope that this consultation helps to promote island voices, to harness island resources and the talents of islanders, and provide the best future for these important communities that in so many ways constitute the best of Scotland.”

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