A framework between the UK Government and the 3 Scottish islands councils – the first agreement of its kind in the country – was launched on Friday by Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael.
The Our islands framework, established in response to the Our Islands, Our Future joint campaign, will embed an islands voice at the heart of the UK Government and reflect the priorities of those communities more closely in decision making and policy. It follows extensive dialogue between the councils and the UK Government, and represents the most comprehensive examination of the Islands’ priorities in 30 years, since the 1984 Montgomery Commission.
Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles represent the most hard-to-reach parts of the United Kingdom and this geographical remoteness presents specific challenges to exploiting their economic and social potential in full.
The 3 islands councils are unique in Scotland in serving only island communities, and this framework recognises they have chosen to adopt a collective position in dealing with the UK Government on certain matters.
It provides the basis for joint working between the UK Government and Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles on a range of priorities.
Comprising a 10-point plan for the islands, the framework includes a firm UK Government commitment to the Renewable Energy Delivery Forum, focused on getting transmission links to the islands. The UK Government also shares the 3 Islands Councils’ ambitions for deployment of renewable energy and for research and development activity, and we will ensure that obstacles to securing the necessary infrastructure are tackled effectively.
The framework also contains measures to strengthen the transparency and accountability of the Crown Estate.