News / Lerwick summit agrees islands proofing

Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael (left) and the three islands council leaders Steven Heddle (Orkney), Gary Robinson (Shetland) and Angus Campbell (Na h-Eileanan an Iar) agreeing guidelines to ensure that the islands' unique circumstances are being reflected in UK government policies - Photo: Pete Bevington/ShetNews

THE INTERESTS of Scotland’s island communities will be ingrained in UK government policies, according to Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael.

The northern isles MP met with the council leaders of Shetland, Orkney and the western isles in Lerwick on Thursday morning.

The Islands Summit build on the commitments set out in the UK Government’s ‘Framework for the Islands’, published before last September’s Scottish independence referendum.

Discussions focused on reviewing progress on the key government policies of interest to the islands such as connection to the national energy grid, measures to address fuel poverty, and improving connectivity with mobile and internet services.

The summit was preceded by discussions with UK government officials on how areas to be devolved to the Scottish Government will impact on the islands.

Carmichael said: “In partnership with the islands councils, we have agreement on the first set of guidelines that aims to ensure that the unique circumstances of the islands are reflected in UK Government policy across a number of key areas including energy and welfare.


“I’m also pleased to confirm the first ever islands oil and gas forum will take place next month.

“This builds on the positive announcements for the oil and gas sector in yesterday’s Budget and will focus on issues affecting island communities such as community benefit and decommissioning.”

Shetland Islands Council political leader Gary Robinson added: “Today’s summit gave us the opportunity to agree the islands proofing process, secure and maximise the commitments made on the Crown Estate, review our progress, and, most importantly, look ahead to the coming year.”

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