News / Islands Summit next year

SCOTTISH secretary Alistair Carmichael and the three Scottish island councils have pledged to hold an Islands Summit next March after a meeting in Edinburgh on Monday.

Representatives of the three island councils, including Shetland’s chief executive Mark Boden, met officers from a wide range of UK government departments at the Scotland Office.

The first meeting of the Islands Working Group with the Westminster administration since September’s referendum covered issues including island grid connections, fuel poverty, EU representation and the seabed owned by The Crown Estate.

They also discussed how islands could be protected from the adverse impacts of government policy.

Carmichael said he was very pleased to be able to start delivering on the promises he made in August in his Framework for the Islands document.

“Islands communities face unique challenges and today’s meeting – which was attended by a broad range of UK government departments – reflects our commitment to working with the islands councils to enable communities in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles to fully benefit from the abundant natural resources they are blessed with,” he said.


Orkney Islands Council convener Steven Heddle, on behalf of the Our Islands, Our Future campaign, said the meting had been “an important opportunity to take forward some of our priority issues”.

He added: “We also agreed to hold an Islands Summit with the secretary of state in March 2015 and discussed the islands’ contribution, through the Scotland Office, to the Chancellor’s autumn statement.”

As well as Heddle and Boden, the OIOF campaign was represented at the meeting by Western Isles Council leader Angus Campbell and chief executive Malcolm Burr.

The UK government sent representatives from the Scotland Office, Department of Energy and Climate Change, Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Crown Estate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Her Majesty’s Treasury, Department for Transport, Cabinet Office, Department for Communities and Local Government and Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

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