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Hebridean visit

Published: 10 Jul 2016 10:00

Transport and Islands Minister touring Inner Hebrides.

Minister for Transport and the Islands Humza Yousaf is carrying out the first in a series of fact-finding island visits taking place over the summer.

Over the next three days, he'll conduct a number of engagements in Argyll and the Inner Hebrides, in his first islands trip since taking up the post. Mr Yousaf will be meeting with communities on Islay, Kerrera, Luing and Seil to hear more about the challenges and opportunities of island life.
His programme includes:

• Meeting with Caledonian MacBrayne representatives at Kennacraig in Argyll (Sun, 10 July)
• Visiting Islay Museum and viewing work for WW1 Commemoration (Mon, 11 July)
• Attending Community Council meeting with local Ferry Group in Islay Hotel, Port Ellen (Mon, 11 July)
• Visiting Atlantic Islands Centre on Luing (Mon, 11 July)
• Meeting community representatives at Ellenabeich and visiting Slate Isles Museum, Seil (Mon, 11 July)
• Visiting Kerrera, including £1.7m project funded by Transport Scotland to carry out improvement work on the jetties and construction of a new breakwater (Tues, 12 July)
• Visiting the Northern Lighthouse Board facility in Oban to see work contributing to safety of mariners around Scotland's shores (Tues, 12 July)
• Visiting the A83 Rest and Be Thankful with BEAR Scotland (Tues, 12 July)

Speaking ahead of the visit, Mr Yousaf said:

"Ferry services are a vital lifeline for rural communities in Scotland and by meeting with those who rely on them as well as those who work hard every day to ensure our island communities are well connected, I'll see and hear first-hand just how important these services are and how they can be improved. I look forward to seeing the progress of the £1.7 million investment in the construction of a new breakwater and the extension of the slipways serving the Kerrera ferry service. This will bring real benefits to the Kerrera community, improving ferry resilience by lessening the impact of tidal and poor weather conditions.

"We are committed to empowering our island communities, which is why I'm meeting with local people on Islay, Luing, Seil and Kerrera to discuss the issues that really matter to people living and working on Scottish islands. Last year's islands bill consultation sought views on island-proofing, additional powers for island councils and the introduction of a National Islands Plan, the results of which are currently under consideration. I anticipate this will be a fantastic opportunity to hear the many and varied views on the future of our islands."

Next month Mr Yousaf will also travel to Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles to continue his engagement with island communities, helping develop and inform future legislative proposals.

Notes to editors

For the Consultation on Provisions for a Future Islands Bill: Analysis of Responses: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/03/4180

For Empowering Scotland's Island Communities: A Progress Update - March 2016: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/03/1090