Holyrood committee to seek local views on Islands Bill during upcoming visit

Convener Edward Mountain MSP.
(Pic Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament)

Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee are to visit Orkney next month, taking views of local people and organisations on the future of the country’s islands.

The committee will examine the potential impact of the Scottish Government’s Islands (Scotland) Bill, and local people are being encouraged to join a public meeting at the Orkney Arts Theatre, in Kirkwall, on Monday, October 2.

Representatives from Orkney Islands Council will give evidence on ways to support, develop and protect Scotland’s islands, and those attending can take part in a public question and answer session.

While the committee is on Orkney, they will also visit the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), and the Birsay Development Trust. At Kirkwall Town Hall, young people will be invited to share with MSPs their hopes and aspirations for island life in the future.

Convener of the Committee, Edward Mountain MSP commented: “During the Committee’s visit we hope to hear from local people with direct experience of living and working on Orkney, on the issues that matter to them. Orkney and Shetland already have some of the measures in place that the Bill proposes to extend to other islands.

“At our public meeting the Committee wants to hear how well these are working, and we are encouraging as many local people as possible to join us, ask questions and find out more.

The Convener continued: “The Scottish Government’s bill also covers significant issues, such as the requirement to make sure new policies and legislation don’t disadvantage the islands, and marine licensing for coastal waters. The Committee’s role is to ensure that the bill contains the right measures to deliver on these objectives.

“Over the next six months, as well as taking evidence at the Scottish Parliament, we hope to hear opinions from across a variety of island areas. This is an opportunity to help shape the future of Scotland’s islands, and it’s vital the valuable knowledge and experience of local people living in Orkney are heard.”

The meeting will from 6.30pm to 9pm. Free tickets can be booked via the Scottish Parliament’s Visitor Services, by email at visit@parliament.scot or telephone number 0131 348 5200.

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