A National Islands Plan for Scotland has been published, according to an announcement made by the Scottish Government on Friday (December 27th).
The purpose of the Plan is ‘to set out the main objectives and strategy of the Scottish Ministers in relation to improving outcomes for island communities that result from, or are contributed to, by the carrying out of functions of a public nature’.
The National Islands Plan includes 13 strategic objectives and a comprehensive list of commitments, setting a direction of travel for the Scottish Government. It also provides a framework for action in order to meaningfully improve outcomes for island communities.
Development of the plan has been informed, according to Friday’s statement, by what islanders told the Scottish Government was important to them during a wide consultation exercise which took place across 40 islands last summer. The Plan is also informed by partners and by wider Scottish Government policy and strategy.
Strategic objectives in the plan include addressing population decline, improving transport services, improving housing and addressing fuel poverty. Digital connectivity, climate change, health and social care are also targeted as strategic areas.
Introducing the 73-page report, Scotland’s Islands Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP said: “The production of this Plan marks an historic milestone. (It) has been created with the input of many islanders and others with a strong interest in Scotland’s islands and I am extremely grateful to you all for your contributions and ideas.
“The Plan sets out 13 Strategic Objectives which are practical, common sense, but will also be critical over the next five years to improving the quality of life for island communities.
“From April to July 2019, we consulted widely on what was important to islanders and island communities. That consultation process highlighted where we need to step up our collective efforts and focus our energies to address the challenges and realise the aspirations of everyone who lives on Scotland’s islands.
“Our islands are profoundly important – not just to Scotland, but to the whole world. They contribute hugely to our culture, heritage, environment, identity, landscape, economy and society. We want them to thrive and this first National Islands Plan provides the ambition and the tools to do so.”
The plan is available to download in English and in Gaelic at https://www.gov.scot/publications/national-plan-scotlands-islands/