Category Archives: Uncategorised

BREXIT result: some of the reactions around Scotland

Alyn Smith, MEP: do not let Scotland down!

SNP MEP Alyn Smith addressed the European Parliament making clear Scotland’s desire to continue our membership of the EU – and received an unprecedented standing ovation from MEPs.

Addressing the meeting of the Parliament, Alyn Smith said:

“I represent Scotland within this house and where I’m proudly Scottish, I’m also proudly European.

“I want my country to be internationalist, cooperative, ecological, fair, European – and the people of Scotland along with the people of Northern Ireland and the people of London and lots and lots of people in Wales and England also voted to remain within our family of nations. I demand that that status and that esprit européen
be respected.

“Colleagues, there are a lot of things to be negotiated and we will need cool heads and warm hearts, but please remember this: Scotland did not let you down. Please, I beg you, cher colleagues, do not let Scotland down now.”

See more about Alyn Smith ‘s speech here.

COAST: seriously alarming

“We are alarmed at the referendum result in favour of leaving”, says Andrew Binnie from COAST “as we believe it will undermine the hard-won environmental legislation which underpins Scotland’s 2010 Marine Act, not to mention a raft of other important pieces of environmental legislation. These have made a real difference to the quality of our fragile natural environment”

Probable Erosion of Important Directives

“It has taken decades of hard work involving many UK/Scottish experts, civil servants and organisations to get Directives such as the Bathing Water, Water and Marine Strategy Framework Directives in place”, continues Mr Binnie .”The implementation of these has greatly benefited the people of Scotland who have seen a real improvement in water quality, particularly in our estuaries and cities. We no longer dump raw sewage into the Clyde for instance and fish stocks in the North Sea are showing signs of recovery. It is critical we continue to build on existing progressive legislation.”

Real danger

There is a real danger that without the backing of EU Directives the implementation of marine and fresh water legislation will be delayed, diluted and vulnerable to even greater industry lobbying. COAST is not uncritical of the EU but it is already clear that some (not all) sections of the fishing industry view ‘Brexit’ as an opportunity to discard regulations they are not in favour of ‘over the side’. We should expect the roll out of Scotland’s MPA network to be challenged. This would be a tragedy not just for the environment but also for fishers and coastal communities. It is self-evident that a healthy marine environment will support many more jobs than a depleted and degraded one.

No trade off

Environmental legislation must not be traded off in any negotiations. As a community organisation fighting for better management of Arran and Clyde waters, COAST is particularly concerned that marine legislation and the implementation of Scotland’s Marine Protected Area network remain on course.

CPMR calls for unity

The Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CPMR) has expressed its disappointment that the UK has voted to leave the EU, but has called for EU Members and Regions across Europe to remain united and to work together to build a better future.

CPMR Secretary General, Eleni Marianou, said:

“It is very disappointing that the people of the UK have taken the historic decision to leave the European Union. It is a decision that undermines European integration and unity, but we must respect the fact that they have exercised their democratic right.

“Now the EU and all Regions across Europe must move forward together, in the interests of growth and prosperity, to find the answers to our common challenges.”

The first SMART ISLANDS forum hosted in Athens

A step towards maturing the Smart Islands Initiative

The first Smart Islands Forum was hosted in Athens on 21 and 22 June at the initiative of the DAFNI Network of Sustainable Aegean and Ionian Islands and the Aegean Energy Agency.

The Forum gathered representatives of island local and regional authorities and actors from 13 countries, namely Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK. The UK was represented by Ian Stephen, Leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Camille Dressler from the Scottish Islands Federation and Felix Wight of Community Energy Scotland.

It was supported by the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES) and the Covenant of Mayors Office .

The 42 European island representatives were joined by organizations with an interest in the potential carried by islands including the European Commission, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Small Islands Federation, the Network of the Insular Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the European Union, the Greek Energy Forum and the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ). The Islands Commission of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions also addressed the Forum.

Bottom up process to define further the Smart Islands Initiative 

The Forum was a bottom-up process offering island local and regional authorities the chance to mature the Smart Islands Initiative, which comes as a continuation of years of collaboration among European islands with the support of the European Union, including the successful SMILEGOV project.

The Smart Islands Initiative, inspired by the Smart Cities and Communities initiative, represents an excellent opportunity for island authorities to devise a place-based, transformative development agenda that taps into islands’ competitive advantages, generates local growth and prosperity, and helps the EU meet the goals it has set in a number of policy areas, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, innovation, circular economy, sustainable transport and mobility.

During the Forum island representatives engaged in a collective process of drafting the Smart Islands Declaration, which outlines the aspirations on the role, challenges and potential of islands to become models of a smart, sustainable and inclusive development paradigm.

In the coming months Forum participants agreed to have Quadruple Helix actors ( Local Authorities and local actors as well as Academic institutions as well as businesses) from respective islands endorse the Declaration in order to ensure all existing synergies are exploited through broad stakeholder engagement.

Brussels event scheduled for Autumn 2016

Further, participants expressed their commitment to organize an event late autumn in Brussels to present the Smart Islands Declaration among EU institutions and stakeholders, showcase island lighthouse projects and exchange views with policy makers on islands’ potential to drive Europe’s transition into a low-carbon, resource-efficient, circular and inclusive economy.

Last but not least participants discussed the possibility to set up a platform of EU island authorities and actors in Brussels that will advocate in favour of island affairs and facilitate partnerships for the realization of EU projects on islands. The platform was also well perceived as a structure to support the Pact of Islands Secretariat in strong collaboration with the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy.

Ultimately the first Smart Islands Forum was a success in that it offered the opportunity to extend the European family of islands and inspired participants to turn this first gathering into an annual event dedicated to EU islands cooperation.

EU laws and the environment

Friends of the Earth Scotland believes that for the sake of our environment, we should remain part of the EU.

Membership of the EU has transformed the UK’s environmental laws for the better:

  •  In the 1970s and 80s the UK was known as the “dirty man of Europe” with the highest sulphur dioxide emissions from power stations causing acid rain across northern Europe. EU agreements meant sulphur dioxide pollution fell 89% between 1990 and 2010. In 2016, Scotland said farewell to its last coal-fired power station.
  • Raw sewage used to be routinely pumped into the sea and in 1976 only 27 beaches across the UK were deemed clean enough to swim off. EU action meant by 2011 there were 597 designated beaches. Now almost all our beaches meet EU quality standards. In 2014, Scotland’s 84 designated bathing waters achieved a mandatory pass rate of 98% and new standards from Europe mean the water will have to be even cleaner in future.
  •   In 2013 the Scottish Government campaigned to keep bee-killing pesticides on the market in Scotland. The EU’s “precautionary principle” meant that the worst of these products were banned from use on the crops most visited by bees.
  •  European rules have meant that thousands of dangerous chemicals have been removed from everyday products, like lead from paint and gender-bending bisphenol-A from baby bottles.We believe it makes sense to work together across Europe on many of the environmental and social challenges we share. Only by working together on the European scale did we stop acid rain and only by staying together can make the large, global emissions cuts needed to tackle climate change. The EU now has the biggest programme of environmental legislation in the world and sustainable development is written into its treaties. A vote to leave would put our progress on the environment, as well as the employment and social rights and protections we enjoy, at risk.

    The EU is far from perfect, with currently a EU’s dogged prioritisation of economic growth at any cost, secretive TTIP trade negotiations, threats to nature laws and resistance to democratic reform.

    The EU needs to rediscover its way and make environmental and human welfare a core purpose if it is to continue to get support from EU citizens. We support a EU where employment, social and environmental rights in the European market are better protected. The current UK government appears to argue for staying in an EU with fewer protections.

Friends of the Earth Scotland calls for the EU to:

Change priorities

  •  The EU’s priorities should be improving people’s lives and taking care of the shared environment we depend on, not a blind pursuit of economic growth.
  •   The free trade ideology that is currently flourishing in the EU should be done away with and negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other similar deals must be abandoned.

Improve laws

  •  The EU should not be allowed to weaken laws that protect the environment or public health. Policies like the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy should be overhauled to put long-term, sustainable protection and management of our environment at their centre.
  •   Countries should be free to introduce stronger environmental laws that set an example to others in the EU.

Reinvigorate democracy

  •  The elected European Parliament should have the power to initiate environmental and health legislation and be given an equal say with national leaders on final decision-making.
  •   The opinions, discussions and activities of EU members on environmental matters must be published publicly and when corporations, NGOs or others try to lobby and influence decisions, this should be made transparent.
  •   The subsidiarity principle, which clarifies at what level of government action should be taken, must be given more weight and interpreted to better preserve local democracy and ensure that decisions are taken closest to citizens.
  •   It should be possible for people and NGOs to challenge EU decisions in EU courts if the EU is breaking its own laws.
  •  EU commissioners wield huge power in the EU, deciding what legislation is introduced or cut. The European Parliament should have the power to reject unsuitable potential commissioners, for example when they have no track record, little interest in or are hostile to environmental protection.
  •   Commissioners and EU civil servants should spend at least as much time talking to public interest groups (such as charities) as they do to corporations.
  •  Representatives with corporate interests, or those paid by them, should not form a majority on advisory groups to the EU Commission.

 

Syrian refugees welcomed on Scottish islands

Scotland has welcomed more Syrian refugees than any other part of the UK under the government’s official resettlement scheme, accepting more than 600 people compared to just 33 who have been taken in by London local authorities. Scottish authorities have accepted 610 arrivals, including 68 in Renfrewshire, 58 in Argyll and Bute and 53 in Edinburgh alone.

Bute, the first Scottish island to welcome Syrian refugees

Last December, 10 Syrian families took up residence on the island of Bute which currently has a population of 6,500 people. Five more families have arrived  since then.

Dick Walsh, the regional council leader, said: “We have a moral duty to help. We cannot sit back and do nothing while these poor people try desperately to escape war-torn countries, risking their lives and their family’s lives in the process.

“If we can help just 20 people, then that’s 20 people who will have the opportunity of a better life,” he continued.

Councillor Isobel Strong  explains: “We have empty social housing and lots of private lets as well. Partly the reason for it is that people move away if they can’t get a career here, so there’s lots of empty housing. There’s capacity in the schools; the school rolls have been falling. We’ve got housing and education available in the community without depriving anybody else of anything.

“I came [to the Isle of Bute] as a young mum 40 years ago and I’ve always felt I got a welcome here,” Strong adds. “It’s a very friendly place; people smile at you in the street even when you don’t know them. I think there’s lots here for [the Syrian families], and it’s a good place to bring up children.”

Strong explains that the availability of resources such as housing is not unique to the Isle of Bute, as the population density across Scotland is low, and many communities across the west have steadily declining populations.

“England may be full up but Scotland isn’t. There are lots of communities who have space and who would be happy to take in refugees.”

Another of Bute’s councillors, Robert MacIntyre, explains that the island’s population has dropped by 10 percent recently, and as a result of this, the incoming refugees will be a “valuable addition to the community”.

Syrian families in Western Isles

The week that Scotland comes together to celebrate the contributions refugees make in Scotland is the week that the Comhairle Leader has confirmed that Syrian families will arrive over the summer months.

The theme for Refugee Festival Scotland 2016 is solidarity. Gary Christie from the Scottish Refugee Council said that “Now, more than ever, we need to stand together with people who’ve had to flee their homes and are now trying to build new lives here.”

Angus Campbell, Comhairle leader, said that he has informed the Members of the Community Planning Partners and his fellow Elected Members that “by the time we met again in September the Outer Hebrides will have welcomed Syrian families to be resettled in our community.  In the weeks ahead I would expect that more information is made available”.

Local agencies have been working hard to make the arrival of families as discreet and smooth as possible for the families.  At the moment the plans involve housing two related families.  They will be housed in and around the Stornoway area.  The families will be supported where necessary but also will be given the space that they need to re-adjust to family life here in the Outer Hebrides.

The Leader indicated that he was “confident that as a Community we will be welcoming and compassionate and allow the families the scope they will need to resettle within our islands.  All partners are pulling together to do this which is also really encouraging.”

Europe, in or out? A few facts

In or out? Here are a few facts that speak for themselves.

Rural development in Scotland: €1.68 billions

The Rural Development Programme (RDP) for Scotland (UK) was formally adopted by the European Commission on 26th May 2015, outlining Scotland’s priorities for using the € 1.68 billion of public money that is available for the 7-year period 2014-2020 (€ 844
million from the EU budget, including € 335 million transferred from the envelope for CAP direct payments, and € 489 million of national co-funding plus € 12 million of additional national funding top-ups).
A central priority of the Scottish RDP is restoring, preserving and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry. Approximately 80% of the total funding is allocated to
this priority, targeting more than 6 million hectares
of agricultural and forestry area through environmental land management targeted to specific biodiversity, water
management and soil erosion objectives.
In addition, restructuring and modernisation grants covering roughly 16% of Scottish agricultural holdings will be available with a view to boosting the productivity of farming and forestry and thereby creating economic growth and more jobs.
Support for LEADER is expected to create over 550 jobs in rural areas.
Moreover, almost 13 000 training places will be created to foster innovation, knowledge transfer,co-operation, more sustainable farming practices and stronger rural businesses.
Support for Rural Development is the 2nd Pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy.
It provides Member States with an envelope of EU funding to manage nationally or regionally under multi-annual, co-funded programmes. In total, 118 programmes are foreseen in all 28 Member States.
The new RD Regulation for the period 2014-2020
addresses six economic, environmental and social priorities for the EU, and programmes contain clear targets setting out what is to be achieved.
Member State highlighting its broad strategy for EU-funded structural investment.
Read more about RD in Scotland  here.
A few questions now:  
Is working together with the EU  and within the EU for a better rural economy in Scotland and its islands a good or a bad idea?  Where would the money for all this  come from if the UK leaves the EU? Would the UK central government be committed to spend as much on rural development after Brexit? Would it spell out its priorities as clearly?
You decide!

 

 

 

New blood for S.I.F.

Meet our new Development officer and new board member

S.I.F. directors are delighted to announce the appointment of Kirsty MacColl as the organisation’s new development officer.

Kirsty is a crofter in Acharacle in West Lochaber and has close family links with Uist. She knows all about the challenges of farming in a remote area and has a strong interest in community empowerment, having worked for the Community Retail Network, Seeing is Believing and Plunkett Scotland. She is looking forward to find out more about the challenges of island life and has started to work on a new survey to identify how we can all work together to ensure the islanders’ voice is heard loud and clear!

Another outcome of the S.I.F. recruitment drive has been the appointment of a new director on the board, Ann MacDonald from the Tiree Community Trust.

 

 

 

 

 

S.I.F. awarded Scottish Government funding

S.I.F. awarded Scottish Government funding!

The Scottish Islands Federation has been awarded £18.500  by the Scottish government, a sum which will allow its voluntary board to employ the staff it requires to fulfil its ambitious targets.

Federation chair Camille Dressler said: “we warmly thank the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and Environment, Richard Lochhead MSP, for his recognition of the part that the Scottish Islands Federation has played in helping to raise islands needs and issues at all levels of governance. We are now looking forward to promote a greater engagement of island grassroots organisations in all the issues that are important to them, and help and help them make their islands leaders in low carbon, sustainable communities.”

Michael Russell , MSP for Argyll & Bute which has more inhabited islands than any other Scottish constituency, and invited the Scottish Islands Federation to the Scottish Parliament in 2013,  said : ‘ I am delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised the importance of the Scottish Islands Federation and the work that is done to bring together those who live and work on the islands in order to share experiences and find ways of moving forward.   The links that exist with islands in other parts of Europe are also important and the collaborations on energy, employment, tourism and other issues that are already arising are pointing interesting ways forward,.   The Scottish Government knows that islands need special support and this grant is not only proves that point, but also opens the door to new possibilities.”

The Scottish Islands Federation is now recruiting staff to carry out the tasks agreed with the Rural Communities team. A description of the job and its responsibilities can be found here.

 

EU resolution on islands signals positive change

NEW EU resolution on islands passed on 4 February 2016

Article 174 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) recognises the special nature of island territories. However, very few concrete EU measures have aimed to support islands to date. Several insular regions and municipalities call for the development of an ‘insular dimension’ in EU policies, and for EU regional policy to take insularity factors, that affect them disproportionately, into account. They also claim that due to the European Commission’s established method of regional funding – based on GDP – certain islands and insular territories are severely penalised.

The Scottish Islands Federation hopes this may change if the measures proposed by the new resolution on islands  (see  below) are implemented:   the resolution calls  for new statistical indicators besides GDP  that can reflect the economic and social vulnerability arising from being an island territory.  An island desk, special financial instruments aimed at islands, an agenda for the islands, a White paper to monitor the situation,  a European Year for Islands and Mountains are amongst other welcome proposals to ensure that the island situation is considered as it should.

However, such resolutions have to be supported by all EU member states. Therein lie the problem of the Scottish Islands: the UK government cares little for its island territories and will care even less if voters decide to leave the EU.

European Parliament resolution of 4 February 2016 on the special situation of islands (2015/3014(RSP))

The European Parliament,

  • –  having regard to Articles 174 and 175 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),
  • –  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1301/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013, on the European Regional Development Fund and on specific provisions concerning the Investment for growth and jobs goal and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006,
  • –  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1083/2006,
  • –  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005,
  • –  having regard to the Commission’s Sixth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion (COM(2014)0473),
  • –  having regard to the European Economic and Social Committee’s opinion on ‘Specific problems facing islands’ (1229/2011),
  • –  having regard to the question to the Commission on the insularity condition (O-000013/2016 – B8-0106/2016),
  • –  having regard to Rules 128(5) and 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,
  1. whereas islands, classified as NUTS-2 and NUTS-3 regions, have common and permanent specific features, which clearly distinguish them from mainland areas;
  2. whereas Article 174 of the TFEU recognises the permanent natural and geographical handicaps specific to the situation of islands;
  3. whereas the reduction in economic, social and environmental disparities between regions and polycentric harmonious development are the main objectives of cohesion policy, in close connection with achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy;
  4. whereas the economic crisis has impacted dramatically on the national and regional budgets of many Member States by limiting the availability of financing in many sectors and leading to a 20 % collapse of public investment; whereas, as also pointed out in the Sixth Report on Economic, Social and Territorial Cohesion, the impact of the crisis has seriously affected the potential development of many disadvantaged regions, including islands; whereas the economic crisis has reversed the long-term trend of convergence of GDP and unemployment rates across the EU, resulting in increased poverty and social exclusion and preventing the achievement of the Union’s long-term objective of economic and territorial cohesion;
  5. whereas EU islands are also peripheral regions situated in some cases on the EU’s external borders and are particularly vulnerable to the challenges which Europe is currently facing, such as globalisation, demographic trends, climate change, energy supply and, especially for the southern areas, exposure to increasing migration flows;
  6. whereas European islands contribute to the diversity of the Union in both environmental terms (specific habitats and endemic species) and cultural terms (architectural heritage, sites, landscapes, agricultural and non-agricultural features and geographical identities);
  7. whereas European islands can contribute to strengthening sustainable development in the Union, given their high potential for producing energy from renewable sources due to specific exposure to wind streams, ocean swell and sunlight;
  8. whereas the accessibility of regions and connections within islands are key factors in making island areas more attractive for skilled workers and businesses; whereas there is a need to attract investment, to create new jobs and to reduce maritime and air transport costs for people and goods, in accordance with the principle of territorial continuity, while also making efforts to reduce emissions and pollution deriving from maritime and air transport;
  9. whereas agriculture, breeding and fisheries constitute an important element of local island economies, which are a source of supply for a significant part of the agro-industrial sector, and whereas these sectors suffer due to lack of accessibility, particularly for SMEs, a low level of product differentiation, and climate conditions;
  10. whereas intensive tourism is, for most islands, an important part of their local economy but tends normally to be concentrated only in certain periods of the year and not adequately planned outside the season, and this may entail risks for the environmentally sustainable development of island regions;
  1. Encourages the Commission to provide a clear definition of the type of geographical, natural and demographic permanent handicaps that insular regions can suffer from, with reference to Article 174 of the TFEU;
  2. Asks the Commission how it intends to implement the wording of Article 174 of the TFEU regarding the permanent handicaps of insular regions that hinder their natural development and prevent them from achieving economic, social and territorial cohesion;
  3. Recognises the importance of providing support to tackle the significant depopulation trend in island regions; recalls that certain handicaps are more difficult to cope with for islands, in proportion to their small size and their remoteness from the European continental coasts;
  4. Requests that the Commission launch an in-depth study/analysis on the extra costs incurred as a result of being islands, in terms of the transport system for people and goods, energy supply and access to markets, in particular for SMEs;
  5. Is of the opinion that islands should have a proper definition/categorisation that will take into account not only their differences and specificities but also their specific situation; invites the Commission, on the basis of Article 174 of the TFEU, which recognises the special situation of islands, to set up a homogeneous group made up of all island territories; calls on the Commission, furthermore, to take into account, besides GDP, other statistical indicators that can reflect the economic and social vulnerability arising from natural permanent handicaps;
  6. Recalls that, in accordance with Council Directive 2006/112/EC, certain European islands have been granted special tax arrangements as a counterbalance to their natural and demographic permanent handicaps; stresses the importance of those special tax arrangements for local communities and economies, and calls for their continuation, especially in those Member States that are under economic adjustment programmes;
  7. Recalls especially the need for better connectivity through maritime routes, improved access to ports and better air transport services; considers that particular emphasis should be placed on transport hubs, inter-modal transport and sustainable mobility; stresses also the need to support balanced territorial development of island regions by promoting innovation and competiveness in these regions, which are remote from the major administrative and economic centres and do not benefit from ease of access to transport, and by strengthening local production for local markets;
  8. Stresses that digital capacity is a vital means of counterbalancing the connectivity handicaps of island regions; emphasises that investments in infrastructure are required in order to ensure broadband access on islands and the full participation of islands in the digital single market;
  9. Recalls that many islands in the Mediterranean have seen huge numbers of migrants arriving and are having to deal with this situation; underlines the need for a holistic EU approach, which should include EU support and a joint effort by all Member States;
  10. Underlines the importance of providing education at all levels, where necessary also by making more use of distance education systems; recalls that islands are also facing serious

climate change impacts, with particularly serious consequences, including increasing numbers of natural hazards;

  1. Emphasises that, while islands face constraints, they also benefit from a territorial potential, which should be used as an opportunity for development, growth and job creation; stresses the importance of low tax and red tape reduction policies as key incentives for attracting investment; mentions, in this context, the development of sustainable tourism in addition to seasonal tourism, focusing on the promotion of cultural heritage and specific artisanal economic activities; stresses also the huge potential of ocean, wind and solar energy and the potential of islands to become important sources of alternative energy, to be as energy-autonomous as possible and, above all, to guarantee cheaper energy supplies for their inhabitants;
  2. Stresses, in this connection, the importance of using all possible synergies between the European Structural and Investment Funds and other Union instruments with a view to counterbalancing the handicaps of islands and enhancing their economic growth, job creation and sustainable development situation;
  3. Calls on the Commission to establish an ‘EU Strategic Framework for Islands’ with a view to linking up instruments that can have a major territorial impact;
  4. Calls on the Member States and regional and local authorities to play an important role in the development strategies of islands on the basis of a vertical approach that involves all levels of government, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, with a view to ensuring the sustainable development of EU islands;
  5. Suggests that the Commission establish an ‘islands desk’ linked to the Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) and made up of a small group of officials in order to coordinate and analyse issues relating to island regions;
  6. Calls on the Commission to submit a communication containing an ‘Agenda for EU Islands’ and, subsequently, a White Paper to monitor the development of islands, based on best practice and involving local, regional and national authorities and other relevant actors, including economic and social partners and representatives of civil society;
  7. Calls on the Commission to propose a European Year of Islands and Mountains;
  8. Invites the Commission to bear in mind the specific situation of islands when preparing the proposal for the next multiannual financial framework;
  9. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Committee of the Regions and the Member States.

Development Officer Post for S.I.F. – job description

Scottish Islands Federation Development Officer Post 

JOB DESCRIPTION 

1-year part-time (about 22 hr/wk), with the possibility of extension

April 2016 – March 2017.

based on the equivalent of full-time salary in range £18k – £21k

 Main aims of post

 Reporting to the board of the Scottish Islands Federation you will develop and consolidate the organization by:

  • increasing the membership of and support for the Scottish Islands Federation.
  • being the first contact for the Scottish Islands Federation.
  • developing quality communication with members, politicians and the wider public.
  • providing administrative support to the board of the Scottish Islands Federation.
  • delivering the activities of the Scottish Islands Federation.
  • assisting in financial planning and keeping records.
  • overseeing the updating of existing energy audits and encouraging other islands to take up energy auditing.

Subject to further funding:

  • managing the delivery of the Island Electric Vehicle Transport pilot project to promote the use of electric vehicles on islands.
  • working with partners on delivery of INTERREG EUROPE project on Entrepreneurship.

Responsibilities

 As the Development Officer for the Scottish Islands Federation you will, in liaison with the Board, be responsible for:

Planning

  • contributing to the strategic planning process for the development of the Scottish Islands Federation and its activities.
  • ensuring the board of the Scottish Islands Federation are kept fully up to date with progress of planning activities.
  • (subject to funding) planning the delivery of the Island Electric Vehicle Transport pilot project.
  • planning budgets as required.

Membership

  • actively making contact with island communities and encouraging membership.
  • encouraging bodies at every level of governance (local government, national government) and relevant public and private organisations to become associate members.

Income generation and finance

  • delivering a programme of events & activities that produce useful development opportunities for island communities as well as generate income.
  • identifying and delivering funding opportunities to support the work of the Scottish Islands Federation, and secure its financial future.
  • managing budgets and keeping proper accounts in liaison with the board of the Scottish Islands Federation.
  • planning and managing the evaluation of the outcomes of events and activities, including submission of monitoring and evaluation reports to funding bodies.

Service delivery

  • organising, in liaison with the Chair, board meetings, the AGM and other meetings, and taking and circulating minutes.
  • maintaining and developing the Scottish Islands Federation website and social media. and producing quarterly newsletters.to communicate with members, governments (local, national, EU), other European island groups and the wider public.
  • acting as the first contact for the membership, external bodies and the media.
  • ensuring the Scottish Islands Federation delivers an outstanding service to its membership.
  • reviewing feedback of all kinds (including internet based feedback) from members and others to ensure service improvements are continually made.
  • developing an inclusive and welcoming culture as a trademark of the Scottish Islands Federation.
  • building constructive and open working relationships with the board and other staff.
  • other tasks subject to further funding.

 Island development

  • communicate with island organisations and visit if appropriate to identify, discuss and research issues of current importance for island communities, devising and using surveys, analysing and evaluating results, and producing reports.
  • represent the Scottish Islands Federation at meetings and manage relationships with the media and external stakeholders, including at national level.
  • participate in project work with wider partnerships, including the Island Electric Vehicle Transport pilot project.
  • compile reports as required to the board and for the Scottish Government.

Skills – to evidence on application (A) and at interview (I)

Essential skills

  •  previous practical experience of similar roles (A)
  • track record of fundraising and income generation (A)
  • motivated to engage and involve communities with a track record of creating success through this involvement (I)
  • good ‘fit’ with the culture of island communities (I)
  • good project and budget management skills (A)
  • good working knowledge of office software and its applications, of social media and of maintaining and developing a website (A)

Desirable skills

  • knowledge of business and marketing plans (A)
  • preparation of funding applications (A)
  • have a track record in community consultation, engagement and involvement (I)
  • have experience of / interest in PR, event management, and use of Facebook and other social media to communicate to a wider public (A)

Working hours and environment

  • work flexibly to deliver the requirements of the contract, including weekends and public holidays if necessary.
  • preferably based on an island near a major island transport hub such as Oban or in such a hub itself, to facilitate visits to island communities.
  • work from a convenient home base as above and/or a hot desk in an island office to be negotiated with the successful candidate, including the provision of office equipment.
  • full driving licence and access to a suitable vehicle essential.

Completed letters of application and CV should be sent by email to Alastair Fleming (SIF director):alastair@atlanticislandscentre.com.

If you add a read receipt your application will be acknowledged as received.

Closing date: 14 April 2016 at 18.00. Interviews for short-listed applicants will be held in Oban in the week beginning 25 April 2016.

SIF showcased at Switch to Renewables Conference in Somerset.

SWITCH TO RENEWABLES: an inspirational seminar in Somerset

Planning, Policy and Finance to enable carbon reduction - Local Regional and European Perspectives Seminar.
SIF chair in the centre with speakers from Frome, Murrhardt and Chateau Gonthier.

On 4 and 5 March, Frome town council in Somerset organised an innovative and inspirational seminar on how to switch to a low carbon economy.

SIF Chair Camille Dressler presented the case of Eigg’s green grid and Mull and Iona’s sustainable transport initiative as inspirational Scottish Islands examples.

Other Case studies were from Frome, Germany, France and Poland, where Frome town council has twinning partners.

Prof Keith Barnham (Solar Revolution), presented a fascinating comparison of what has happened in Germany in terms of exponential renewable development and what could have happened to the UK if the Feed in Tariff and other encouraging measures had not been cut.

To see his presentation and others, click here.