Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Calls for Scottish Government to address rural challenges ‘before it is too late’

Post Thumbnail

The Scottish Government has been urged to address challenges facing rural people “before it is too late”.

Aberdeenshire Council has been asked to give feedback on a proposed remote rural communities bill, which would offer similar protection for mainland communities as the 2018 Islands Act does for Scottish islands.

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross is behind the venture, which would result in public bodies having to take the impact on remote rural communities into account when formulating policy.

Aberdeenshire Council has issued a rallying call to protect rural communities, telling the government: “If we lose this vital part of our culture, we will never reignite it, it will be lost for generations to come.”

Gail Ross

In common with the Islands Act, the bill would also put responsibility on Scottish ministers to publish a national remote rural plan.

Ms Ross said: “Protection for remote, rural communities has never been more vital”, due to challenges faced by population decline, access to services and retention of staff.

On Thursday, Shire councillors will discuss their official response, and how the bill could affect vast swathes of rural land and thousands of people who call it home.

A report, prepared by Ritchie Johnson, director of business services, states: “Anything that could create a more level playing field for remote rural areas  – such as postal charges and fuel charges – would be welcomed.

“In housing there have been examples of legislation and policy, particularly in homelessness, affordable housing and energy efficiency, that have been aimed at meeting the needs of urban communities, often either at the expense of rural communities or in a way that is impractical to deliver in a sparsely populated area.

“We need to protect and enhance, our rural heritage and support those who choose to live a rural life.

“If we lose this vital part of our culture, we will never reignite it, it will be lost for generations to come.”

The council’s response to the consultation confirmed the authority is struggling to support people as well as they would like – with numerous complaints surrounding gritting, street lighting, bin collections and safe rural routes to schools.

Edinburgh

The response adds: “Remote rural communities have unique characteristics and local authorities are best placed to respond to the challenges and opportunities faced by rural residents and businesses.”

Members have been asked to acknowledge Aberdeenshire Council’s response and support the proposed legislation, but acknowledge that additional financial resources need to be put in place if the bill is passed.

A Scottish Government spokesman said:“We are committed to promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunities for all to ensure a vibrant, sustainable and productive rural economy and we are already taking a range of actions to help our rural communities thrive.

“If the proposed Bill were to come forward, we would carefully consider it.”

THE BACKGROUND

In 2018, MSPs unanimously backed legislation to offer greater protection and power to Scotland’s island communities.

The Islands (Scotland) Bill gave councils extra powers over activities on and around their coastlines and required ministers to have a long-term plan for improvement.

The bill included the creation of a “national islands plan”, thereby extending powers for councils over areas such as marine licensing.

There was also an amendment that meant Shetland would no longer be “put in a box on maps of Scotland”, as requested by MSP Tavish Scott.

Tavish Scott MSP

He called for a requirement on any public bodies publishing documents including maps of Scotland to display them “in a manner that accurately and proportionately represents their geographical location in relation to the rest of Scotland”.

The Lib Dem MSP had said the common practice of placing Shetland in a box off the Aberdeenshire coast or Moray Firth was “intensely annoying” to islanders and gave a false impression of the challenges they face on account of their remote location.

When the Bill was passed, then-Islands minister Humza Yousaf described it as “an important milestone for island communities”.

The Bill – which encompasses Scotland’s 1,382 islands, from Ailsa Craig in the Clyde to Unst on the country’s northern frontier, was also praised by the RSPB.

The wildlife charity said it hoped the step would both protect ecosystems on uninhabited islands and provide more opportunities for communities on populated ones.

 

 

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]