Community / Survey results reveal views of islanders

The Muckle Roe bridge. Photo courtesy of Shetland Islands Council.
Photo: SIC

THE RESULTS of a wide ranging survey of people living on Scottish islands have been released.

Among the findings is that 93 per cent of people living on Shetland’s outer islands say they intend to live there for the next five years at least.

Long-standing concerns around issues like fuel poverty and connectivity were also highlighted.


The survey was organised by the Scottish Government as part of its national islands plan.

A total of 20,000 surveys were posted in October to adult residents of 76 permanently inhabited islands. The response rate was 22 per cent.

The government said that the results highlighted that experiences of island life vary considerably by island group and peoples’ age.

One theme was that respondents feel there is a lack of support for younger people to remain, move or return to Scottish islands.

There was also concern about the employment, training and higher education opportunities in Scotland’s islands, and lack of childcare options.


Some Shetland related findings included:

  • The lowest level of agreement that jobs are available in tourism was reported by Shetland’s outer isles, at 30 per cent
  • Satisfaction with inter-island ferries is highest in Shetland’s outer isles, where 66 per cent of residents say the service runs when they need it, 70 per cent that it is reliable and 78 per cent that there is usually space on board.
  • Only 27 per cent of Shetland outer isles residents agreed that their internet connection at home is fast enough to do what they want online, with 66 per cent of Shetland mainland residents agreeing.
  • 76 per cent of respondents in Shetland’s outer isles said they spoke local dialect

Islands secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “The aim of the National Islands Plan is to improve the quality of life for island communities by showing them that they are very important to our nation, we care about their futures and that their voices are strong and being heard.

“The results of this report will be used to monitor the effectiveness of the implementation of the National Islands Plan and improve the availability of data held about Scotland’s islands.”

The full report can be viewed here.