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Scotland and Islandness

Explorations in Community, Economy and Culture


Edited By Kathryn A. Burnett, Ray Burnett and Michael Danson

Scotland’s islands are diverse, resourceful and singularly iconic in national and global imaginations of places «apart» yet readily reached. This collection of essays offers a fascinating commentary on Scotland’s island communities that celebrates their histories, cultures and economies in general terms. Recognising a complex geography of distinct regions and island spaces, the collection speaks to broader themes of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, narratives of place and people, the ideas and policies of island and regional distinctiveness, as well as particular examinations of literature, language, migration, land reform, and industry. With a view to placing ideas and expressions of islandness within a lived reality of island life and scholarship, the collection provides a multidisciplinary perspective on the value of continued and expanding research commentaries on Scotland’s islands for both a Scottish and an international readership. 

This book should instantly appeal to scholars of Island Studies, Scottish Studies, and Regional Studies of northern and peripheral Europe. Readers with particular interests in the sociology and history of Scottish rural and northern Atlantic communities, the cultural histories and economies of remote and island places, and the pressing socioeconomic agenda of small island sustainability, community building and resilience should also find the collection offers current commentaries on these broad themes illustrated with local island examples and contingencies.

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Chapter 10 The Islands (Scotland) Act: Island Proofing through Legislation (Francesco Sindico and Nicola Crook)



10.The Islands (Scotland) Act: Island Proofing through Legislation

This chapter will provide an account of the Islands (Scotland) Act (2018) (the Act) and the emerging themes stemming from the consultation carried out to inform the National Islands Plan (Scottish Government 2019). The Act was adopted by the Scottish Parliament in June 2018, but its roots go back to the Our Islands Our Future Strategy2 in 2014. The chapter will highlight the process and the key moments leading to the adoption of the Act. It will then highlight the main sections of the Act, with an emphasis on the concept of island proofing, which is at the heart of the Act. The second part of the chapter will discuss the consultation that has been carried out in 2019 to inform both the National Islands Plan and the guidance and regulations related to island communities’ impact assessment. The consultation highlighted four key values that capture the interests of island communities across Scotland: fairness, sustainability, environmental protection and inclusiveness. Each one will be analysed in the chapter clarifying how future island centred policies underpinned by such values have the potential to deliver effective island proofing as promised by the Act itself.

Scotland has inhabited islands that stretch from the Isle of Arran in the south west of Scotland up to Unst in the Shetlands (National Records of Scotland 2015). Scottish islands, hence, cover a wide stretch of sea and are part and...

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