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National Islands Plan

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

I will flag up two main areas where we are taking forward additional work under the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018. The first relates to island communities impact assessments. Section 8 of the 2018 act, which refers to those impact assessments, has not yet been commenced. Work on the guidance and templates for the provision is being progressed in tandem with work on the national islands plan, with a view to ensuring that the section is commenced as soon as possible. Policy instructions are being drafted and officials are working to finalise an illustrative timetable. Ideally, the regulations will come into force early in 2020.

Secondly, as members may be aware, we are progressing the Additional Powers Request (Scotland) Regulations 2019, which were laid in Parliament on 5 July this year and which are the obvious next step in the implementation of the 2018 act. The regulations will come into force in mid-November at the latest, subject to approval being obtained from Parliament. Non-statutory guidance is being developed collaboratively with the six relevant local authorities and will accompany the regulations when they come into force. We recognise that there is still a lot of work to do, but a lot of progress has been made.