The Scottish government has introduced a “historic bill” to create a sustainable future for Scotland’s islands. It is a success for the Scottish Archipelagoes (Orkney, Western Isles Council and Shetland Islands Council) that have been campaigning for several years for greater powers.
The introduction of the bill marks the first stage in its progress through parliament.
Among others points, the bill will propose the creation of a National Islands Plan; Extended powers to island councils in relation to marine licensing. This involves the potential extension of the provisions of the Orkney and Zetland County Council Acts of 1974, to enable Scottish minsters to establish a scheme requiring that activities up to 12 nautical miles from an island are licensed by the appropriate local authority; and giving island councils powers over activities on and around their coastlines.
This is well in line with ESINs view that an island consists of land + water. The sea should always be included when calculating the area, the rights, the culture, the benefits, the costs and the assets of an island – otherwise it might as well be a town in Germany, an English hill or a French village.
More information can be found on BBC Scotland: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-40247214