Call for 10 year moratorium on marine designations

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The imposition of Marine Designations on large areas of the waters surrounding the Western Isles is totally unacceptable, say Councillors.

That was the view of members of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar who attended a seminar on the issue in Stornoway on Tuesday with representatives of SNH and Marine Scotland in which plans for Marine designations were discussed.

The Chair of Sustainable Development, Cllr Alasdair Macleod said:

“The Comhairle is fundamentally opposed to Designations being imposed on local communities by the Scottish Government and European Union. The fishing industry in the Western isles is totally against these plans which will have a negative impact on the fishing industry and the general economy of the Islands, particularly in Uist and Barra.

“The Comhairle is entirely supportive of the fishing industry and it is hugely disappointing that local views are just not being listened to. What is the point of consultation when local views are ignored? The Comhairle is of the view that there should be a ten year moratorium on any new designations in the Western Isles which is already making a significantly greater contribution than any other part of Scotland. I would now call on the Minister to respect local opinion, reverse these proposals and stand up for the Islands, the local economy and our communities”.

Part of the discussion at the meeting centred on ‘Policy Protection’ which means that once a consultation is started on designating an area, in practice it is designated until a reverse decision is made.

Cllr Macleod said: “This undermines the very principle of meaningful consultation”.