Safeguarding remote rural mainland communities

Trust responds to consultation on a proposed Remote Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill

Romany garnett quinag nov 16 lr header 2 detail

In her October 2019 Safeguarding Scotland’s Remote Rural Communities consultation, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Gail Ross, explored whether new legislation is required to address the problems facing remote rural communities.

She said: “Protection for our remote rural communities has never been more vital.”

A possible model for legislation has already been set by the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, which places a statutory duty on public authorities to have regard for island communities when carrying out their functions. The Act also requires ministers to consult island communities before making a material change to any policy, strategy or service that will disproportionately affect them. It also calls for ministers to create a ‘National Plan for Scotland’s Islands’

Gail Ross’ consultation asks whether similar provisions should be made for remote rural communities on the mainland.

In addition to our properties on Skye, four of the Trust’s mainland properties at Sandwood, Quinag, Li and Coire Dhorrcail and Schiehallion are also classified as ‘Remote Rural'.*

The Trust’s Land Operations Manager Richard Williams – who is based in Assynt – said: “This makes us aware of the challenges and inequalities faced by communities in these locations.

“The future health of the country’s wild land requires a vibrant and growing rural population and therefore we support measures, such as the proposed Bill, which seek to improve quality of life and close the decision-making gaps for people in remote rural communities.

 “We have submitted our response to the consultation and will be following the outcome with interest.”

*Remote Rural Communities are defined as: “Areas with a population of less than 3,000 people, and with a drive time of over 30 minutes to a settlement of 10,000 or more.”

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Photograph by Romany Garnett shows Quinag in the snow.