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SIC - Free Tyre Check - 22 Nov 2019

Letters / Open letter to SIC: Call for a wind farms impact assessment on island communities

Dear Councillor,

ISLANDS (SCOTLAND) ACT 2018

ISLAND COMMUNITIES IMPACT ASSESSMENTS

Section 8 of the Islands (Scotland) Act (2018) states:

8 Island communities impact assessment

(1) A relevant authority must prepare an island communities impact assessment in relation to a—

(a )policy,

(b) strategy, or

(c) service,

which, in the authority’s opinion, is likely to have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from its effect on other communities (including other island communities) in the area in which the authority exercises its functions.

(2) Subsection (1) applies to the development, delivery and redevelopment of the policy, strategy or service (as the case may be).

(3) An island communities impact assessment prepared under subsection (1) must—

(a) describe the likely significantly different effect of the policy, strategy or service (as the case may be), and

(b) assess the extent to which the authority considers that the policy, strategy or service (as the case may be) can be developed or delivered in such a manner as to improve or mitigate, for island communities, the outcomes resulting from it.

(4) If a relevant authority does not prepare an island communities impact assessment in relation to a—

(a) policy,

(b) strategy, or

(c) service,

which has an effect on an island community, it must publish, as soon as reasonably practicable afterwards and in such manner as it considers appropriate, an explanation of its reasons for not doing so.

 

Section 14 states:

14 Duty of the Scottish Ministers to have regard to request for retrospective island communities impact assessment

(1)A local authority listed in the schedule may make a request to the Scottish Ministers to prepare and publish a retrospective island communities impact assessment in relation to existing legislation or national strategies which have an effect on an island community which is significantly different from their effect on other communities (including other island communities) in Scotland.

(2)Following receipt of a request made under subsection (1), the Scottish Ministers must, within 3 months, confirm in writing—

(a) their approval of the request, or

(b) their reasons for not approving the request.

(3)If the Scottish Ministers approve a request under subsection (2)(a), they must prepare and publish a retrospective island communities impact assessment under subsection (1) within 6 months of the date of their decision.

(4)In this section—

“legislation” means—

(a)   an Act of the Scottish Parliament, and

(b) subordinate legislation made under an Act of the Scottish Parliament,

“national strategies” means any strategy or framework prepared and published by the Scottish Ministers.

(5)A retrospective island communities impact assessment must include—

(a) a description of the methods and data used to assess the effect on island communities,

(b) the steps (if any) the Scottish Ministers intend to take to rectify, mitigate or improve the effect of the legislation or national strategy on island communities.

In light of the above and the opinion piece published in the local press we therefore call upon you, and for Shetland Islands Council, to arrange, as a matter of urgency:

  1. For Shetland Islands Council to instigate an island communities impact assessment with regard to the Scottish Government’s Proposed National Islands Plan, in the light of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, insofar as it impacts on the communities of Shetland.
  2. For Shetland Islands Council to request Scottish Ministers to prepare and publish a retrospective island communities impact assessment with regard to the Scottish Energy Strategy 2017, insofar as it impacts on the communities of Shetland.

Frank Hay
Chairman
Sustainable Shetland

Note: This letter was sent on behalf of Sustainable Shetland to all elected members of Shetland Islands Council two weeks ago. No councillor even acknowledged receipt of the letter.