Scotland’s Island Councils and Local Government Minister Derek Mackay today agreed a formal remit and an ambitious workplan covering a range of issues of importance to Scotland’s island areas at the first meeting of the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group.
The first meeting considered options for further devolution of the functions of the Crown Estate. Further discussions will cover energy, renewables, transport and governance issues.
The group agreed to work towards developing a prospectus outlining opportunities for island communities in the context of the referendum.
The next meeting of the group will take place early in October in Stornoway, when the group is expected to consider a number of issues including energy.
Minister for Local Government and Communities, Derek Mackay said:
“The Lerwick Declaration made clear that this Government is committed to the principle of local decision-making and subsidiarity. I’m therefore pleased that at the first meeting of the Island Areas Working Group we discussed an ambitious workplan to look at the potential for further devolution of powers for Scotland’s islands and the opportunities that independence could open up for our island communities, including energy, renewables and the Crown Estate. I look forward to developing this agenda in more detail and agreeing a prospectus for the future of the islands in the context of the referendum.”
Dr Steven Heddle, Convener, Orkney Islands Council said:
“I’m pleased that we have taken this first step in an ongoing engagement with the Scottish Government to develop opportunities for our island groups. Our agenda and our commitment is substantial, and we hope for continuing productive discussion and significant and tangible benefits for our communities as a result.”
Gary Robinson, Leader, Shetland Islands Council said:
“This is a welcome opportunity to begin a discussion with Ministers on a wide range of issues which are at the heart of the islands’ economies. It’s particularly important as we approach a time of constitutional change to explore all the options that may be available to us.”
Angus Campbell, Leader, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said:
“I’m pleased that this initial meeting with Scottish Government colleagues has been productive, as we seek to take forward our continuing commitment to gain a better future for our island groups. We look forward to welcoming the Ministerial Working Group to Stornoway in early October for the next meeting and continuing this work.”