Shetland MSP Tavish Scott has today won assurances from the Scottish Government that it will work with him to make a Shetland mapping requirement a reality.
During the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee’s consideration of the Islands (Scotland) Bill this morning, the Islands Minister, Humza Yousaf MSP responded to an amendment lodged by Mr Scott which would require official Scottish Government publications and correspondence to feature Shetland in its correct geographic location.
Mr Yousaf “accepted the spirit of the amendment” and promised to work with Mr Scott to deliver an agreed mapping requirement amendment ahead of the Stage 3 debate of the bill. The Islands Minister also pledged to write to all Scottish local authorities to get them to back the principle of the amendment, and promised to look into practical ways he could support the amendment.
Speaking after the debate, Tavish said:
"This is a debate about the islands, after all. And this amendment seeks to put islands in the right place. The logistics of getting to and from Shetland are all too often forgotten, and this has an impact on the crucial economies of the islands, for instances the movement of oil, gas and seafood. Recognising where Shetland is located would go a long way to understanding the challenges we face as an island.
“I am grateful to the Islands Minister for his constructive approach to my amendment, and his assurance to work together with me to work out how we can move this forward. It is my priority to ensure we use the Islands Bill to deliver a Shetland mapping requirement in law.
“I am glad the Scottish Government sees the principle behind this amendment, which goes to the heart of what the Islands Bill is all about: recognition of the unique status of islands communities.”