New islands transport forum
Islands Bill consultation and transport top of agenda at Island group meeting.
A forum will be set up to consider strategic transport issues affecting Scotland’s Islands, as agreed yesterday during the 8th meeting of the Islands Areas Ministerial Working Group held in Orkney yesterday.
The Islands Transport Forum, established by Islands Minister Derek Mackay, will meet biannually and will include representatives from local authorities with island communities.
It is intended that the forum would deal with internal and external ferry, air, and other transport services upon which each of the island communities so heavily depend on for social cohesion and sustainable economic activity and growth.
The Islands Transport Forum will consider opportunities and difficulties, including:
- Improving collaboration between Transport Scotland, RTPs and Islands Councils
- Ensuring clarity with regard to roles, responsibilities and obligations in the context of the CHFS and NIFS Public Service Contracts
- Establishing a process that fully accounts for island-specific views
- Ensuring efficient and effective lines of communication between all key stakeholders to facilitate improved consultation and engagement, sharing of information, cascading of decisions and escalation of issues between and to the most appropriate levels
This was also the first opportunity for the Island Areas Ministerial Working Group to discuss in detail the planned Islands Bill consultation. The consultation announced recently by the First Minister will be published this summer.
Nicola Sturgeon told the Convention of the Highlands and Islands (COHI) that views would help draft a future Islands Bill to provide more power, equality and protection for the Islands to allow them to build a more prosperous and fairer future for their communities.
It follows the publishing of the ‘Empowering Scotland’s Island Communities’ prospectus in Orkney last June – the most comprehensive empowerment package for our Islands put forward by any Government.
Following the meeting, Mr Mackay said yesterday:
“The Scottish Government previously committed to looking at devolving more autonomy to our islands and decentralise decision making to those who live and work in these unique parts of Scotland. We have taken a further two steps in that direction by announcing the Islands Transport forum today and our consultation on the Islands Bill which will be published this summer.
“We want to work to make our islands stronger and let them flourish. The Island Areas Ministerial Working Group is an important platform to make that happen in the right way, giving our island communities a voice to shape their future for social cohesion and sustainable economic activity and growth.”
Speaking on behalf of the three island authorities, Orkney Islands Council Convener Steven Heddle said yesterday:
“At today’s meeting we raised a range of transport issues, matters of fundamental importance to the people we serve.
“As island communities, we need air and ferry links that people can depend on and afford to use.
“This is vital for the wellbeing of our communities and our discussions focused on how we can ensure Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles are served by transport links that are sustainable long term and less costly in future than they are at present.”
Councillor Heddle added yesterday: “Our talks today also looked at how we take forward the Scottish Government’s commitment to devolve to the islands the revenue from Crown Estate assets in our coastal waters.
“This income stream should directly benefit people in the communities where it is generated. We feel the best way to achieve this is for our local authorities to have responsibility for the management of these assets.
“The Government’s continuing commitment to the Our Islands Our Future process is encouraging. It was clearly demonstrated today by the presence of four Ministers at our meeting in Kirkwall.”
Notes To Editors
Examples of recent investment in Islands transport includes:
STO-ULL ferry route upgrade - The Scottish Government has secured funding of £42 million for the MV Loch Seaforth. It has also invested £17 million in the infrastructure works at Ullapool Harbour and £9.6 million in the infrastructure works at Stornoway Harbour. For more information http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/news/final-meeting-stornoway-ullapool-taskforce and for details of additional summer sailings: http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/news/extra-summer-sailings-stornoway-ullapool
Air Discount Scheme renewed – http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/news/boost-highlands-and-islands-air-discount-scheme-renewed
Investment at Sumburgh Airport - http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/news/second-phase-redevelopment-sumburgh-airport
New PSO planes - http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/news/pso-planes-ready-take
Latest News from
Agreement powering onshore wind development21/09/2023 16:20:00
Enhanced commitment by developers to community benefits.
Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 - operation and effect 2018 to 2023: report21/09/2023 15:05:00
The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 allows the Scottish Parliament to set a price below which alcohol cannot be sold.
Scottish Parliament approves final extension of tenant protections21/09/2023 10:20:00
Rent cap to be extended for up to six months.
Improving digital connectivity20/09/2023 11:05:00
Plans to enhance broadband connection speeds in new homes across Scotland are being considered.
Crime remains at lowest levels in 50 years20/09/2023 10:05:00
Scotland continues to be a safe place to live with recorded crime remaining at one of the lowest levels in almost 50 years.
Recorded Crime in Scotland, year ending June 202319/09/2023 15:05:00
Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released Recorded Crime in Scotland, year ending June 2023.
First Minister announces up to £2.5 million to boost global health19/09/2023 13:05:00
First Minister Humza Yousaf has pledged up to £2.5 million over the next five years to the Health4Life Fund – which supports global action and progress on the prevention of non-communicable diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and cancers.