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					Scottish Islands Network Newsletter                            
November 2004

The Scottish Islands Network aims to promote, publicise and advance the interests of all Scottish


Caledonian MacBrayne's Best Kept Secret?
Earlier this month I got in the car and set off for Kintyre. I was on my way to Arran and planning to cross
to Lochranza on the Caledonian MacBrayne-operated ferry from Claonaig.
I had logged onto the Calmac website the day before to print off a copy of the timetable, reassured by the
site that the winter timetables were all valid from 24th October 2004 to 24th March 2005. Very good. I
clicked on the timetable for Claonaig-Lochranza. There it was again – in big red letters this time – VALID
FROM 24TH OCTOBER 2004 – 24 MARCH 2005. So off I set, timetable in hand.
As I carried on down the A83, past Kennacraig Pier where the Islay ferry had just arrived, I came to the
road sign pointing me in the direction of the Arran Ferry. I got to the pier in good time – ready to make the
1235 ferry. No sign of it by 1245 so I decided to give CalMac a ring – just in case it had been delayed or
cancelled for some reason. Having explained my predicament I was assured there were no reported delays
or cancellations that day and that the boat would probably be with me soon. Another 20 minutes passed and
still no boat.
A car pulled up beside me. It was a friendly man from up the road asking if I was waiting for a ferry. He
kindly informed me that there is in fact no winter ferry from Claonaig to Lochranza – instead there is one
sailing a day from Tarbert, 11 miles back up the road. But that had left at 1215.
Hmmmmm…..I didn't recall noticing any reference to that on the timetables page of the Calmac website.
Was I being a bit slow that day or was CalMac's timetable just a wee bit misleading? Decided to ring a
couple of other folk that I knew were planning to take the same route across to Arran later that same day.
They thought there was a ferry running from Claonaig too. Phew, it wasn't just me being daft.
Decided to phone CalMac back to inform them of this problem with their paraphernalia. The lady I spoke
to confirmed what I had just discovered – there is indeed no winter sailing from Claonaig to Arran – only
from Tarbert. 'But your winter timetable says there is and there is no notice here at the pier to say there
isn't', I protest. Then CalMac lady draws my attention to the small line of text within the timetable. 'Daily
including SUN until 30 Oct' it reads. Now to my mind (and others I have quizzed) that suggests that there is
a service 7 days a week until the 30th October, after which date there are no Sunday sailings but still daily
ones. And anyway, why on earth would CalMac go to all the trouble and expense of printing and
publishing a timetable that is only valid for 7 days?! That would be uneconomical and daft would it not?!
Apparently not.
So there you have it. That is my rant. No road signs to keep me right, no notice at the pier in Claonaig and
no clear reference to the service on the CalMac website or within the timetable itself. The fact that there is
no winter sailing from Claonaig to Lochranza is one of CalMac's best kept secrets as far as I am concerned.
I have written to them complaining about the fact that I was mislead and consequently had to drive an
additional 120-odd miles to catch the last ferry from Ardrossan to Arran that night. In their apologetic
response, CalMac have explained that: 'The confusion is arising because the timetable covers a 5 month
period, but the ferry only runs for 7 days of the timetable period.' Yes - that is indeed confusing!
I have been assured that the information on the CalMac website will be amended to show a more specific
date stamp and in the future CalMac will look into including a note to draw additional attention to the fact
that this service only operates for one week of the winter timetable.

        The Scottish Islands Network, 3 Douglas Row, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD                        1
             Tel: 01478611285 Fax: 01478612519 Email:

Scottish Executive Accused of Failing to Implement EU Directive
The Hebridean Marine National Park Partnership (HMNPP) has written to the European Union
Commissioner for the Environment, accusing the Scottish Executive and other authorities of failing to
effectively implement the EC Habitats Directive within Scotland.
The HMNPP is accusing the relevant authorities of contravening articles within the Directive and of failing
to implement the principles and decisions that have arisen from a range of consultation programmes such as
the Scottish Coastal Forum, Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Scottish Sustainable Marine
Environment Initiative, as well as the Biodiversity Action Plan and the Natura 2000 Network. Specific
cases where the directive has allegedly not been implemented include the Lismore SAC and the Treshnish
Isles SAC & SPA. The Partnership has requested that the European Commission launches an investigation
into the application of the Habitats Directive throughout Scotland.
For more information about the HMNPP, visit or email / telephone 01631 750247.

Application Lodged for World's Biggest Ever Windfarm
British construction group Amec have announced their plans for the world's biggest onshore Windfarm.
The group has submitted a planning application for 234 turbines on Lewis -enough to supply green energy
to over 20 percent of Scotland. The project would create over 300 jobs locally, with the construction of the
turbine towers being based on the island. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is opposing
the project – despite Amec having conducted Europe's largest-ever bird survey to help it minimise the
impact on the local bird population.

The Bute Outdoors Centre Project
The Bute Outdoors Centre Project is a community-driven initiative seeking to establish a fully accessible
holiday centre, with residential accommodation, catering and with facilities for indoor and outdoor
activities on the Isle of Bute. The new centre will focus on people with disabilities and their families and
carers, but will also be open to anyone and as well as providing a venue for visitors to the island, it will also
be used by the local community. The centre has been designed to the highest standards of environment-
awareness and sustainability.
Following an extensive period of market research and feasibility studies, a campaign is currently underway
to raise nearly £5 million necessary to complete the centre.
Find out more and follow the project's progress on the website – – which has just
been updated to include a new discussion forum. You can contact the Bute Outdoors Centre Committee on
01700 505600 or email

Petrol Prices Soar in Orkney and Shetland
Petrol now costs more than £1 a litre in some parts of Orkney and Shetland – prompting local MP Alistair
Carmichael to call for the government to help Britain's most northerly communities who are now having to
pay 15% above the national average for fuel. The politician will argue that in Greece and Portugal, there
are derogations from EU law which allow them to charge variable rates of fuel duty.
In a quick survey of island fuel prices published in the July edition of this newsletter, it emerged that on all
of the islands people have to pay higher than the UK average for their fuel. The most extreme case then was
Colonsay – where unleaded fuel cost £1.05 a litre – almost 30% more than the national average.
The Scottish Islands Network will be undertaking a more in-depth survey of island fuel prices over the next
couple of months in order to draw attention to the high costs facing our island communities, so please get in
touch to let me know how much you're currently paying for your fuel on your island. More news soon……

Western Isles School Leads the Way with Renewable Energy
Scotland's biggest photovoltaic project has been installed at Sir E Scott School on Harris. 120 photovoltaic
panels have been installed on the school's roof to capture energy from the sun and a solar water heating
system is also being installed. Green MSP Eleanor Scott has praised the project and lodged a motion in the
Scottish Parliament seeking further support for the use of solar energy from the Scottish Executive.

         The Scottish Islands Network, 3 Douglas Row, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD                          2
              Tel: 01478611285 Fax: 01478612519 Email:
South Uist Buy-Out Feasibility Study
A feasibility study into the proposed community buy-out of the 93,000 acre South Uist Estate has found
that a buy-out would bring a range of economic, social and environmental benefits to the area. If it
proceeds, the community buy-out would be the largest ever in Scotland – involving almost the whole of
South Uist, Benbecula and Eriskay. The land includes 850 crofts and 3,670 residents. Among the reports
recommendations are the development of renewable energy local fisheries and the enhancement of access
and information services – which would include the opening of a new field-studies centre. A number of
public meetings are taking place to allow local residents to discuss the report's findings. Two ballots will
take place to determine whether or not the buy-out should go ahead – one for all crofters in the area and the
other for everyone of voting age. 50% in each group must vote for the ballot to be valid and 50% of each
group must vote in favour for the buy-out to go ahead. An edited version of the full feasibility study is
available online at

Scotland – European Region of the Future
Scotland has been awarded the accolade, 'European Region of the Future' in a competition run by the
Financial Times group to identify the best places in Europe to do business. Scotland's strength across a
range of areas was highlighted – including investment promotion, higher education, transport, and support
for technology and innovation.
The accolade comes as the chairman of Highlands & Islands Enterprise has announced that a new challenge
is facing the Highlands – success. For centuries the region has faced depopulation, unemployment and
economic stagnation, but now unemployment is well below the Scottish average and there is currently a
shortage of workers and housing. HIE says that the new situation requires a change of strategy, particularly
to address the shortage of affordable housing. Good to hear some optimistic views about this part of the

Western Ferries Plan to Challenge CalMac
Clyde-based Western Ferries have announced plans to re-launch a new ferry link to Islay in direct
competition with the service currently provided by state-subsidised operator Caledonian MacBrayne. It was
the launch of a CalMac ferry on the Islay route that forced Western Ferries to abandon it in 1981 - despite
the company having pioneered roll-on roll-off ferries on the route during the 1960s.
Islay's economy has benefited from the popularity of the island's malt whisky distilleries and there has been
growing demand on the route – demonstrated by the introduction of a second CalMac ferry to boost
summer services last summer. There is also huge demand for freight services to the island. Western Ferries
already compete with CalMac on the Gourock-Dunoon commuter route and the company is also
considering introducing a new service linking the Isle of Bute and the Cowal peninsula.

European Agriculture Committee Meets to Discuss Transportation Regulation
The European Parliament's Agriculture Committee met in Brussels this month to discuss revised proposals
for a regulation on the protection of animals during transport and related operations. You may remember
that last year, the Scottish Islands Network helped to commission a study of the potential impact of the
proposed regulation as it then stood throughout the Highlands and Islands. The report found that there
would be major implications for the transporting and marketing of livestock throughout the region, which
could cost producers as much as £1.65 million and result in prices for lambs and ewes falling by as much as
In April of this year, the Agriculture Committee failed to reach agreement on the proposed legislation, but
it has now been amended under the Dutch Presidency of the EU in the hope that it will be less
controversial. The new proposal no longer recommends shorter journey times and instead covers things that
most agree are positive – such as training and travelling conditions – and the Agriculture Committee has
managed to reach a political agreement on this amended legislation. For more information about the
approved regulation follow this link -

        The Scottish Islands Network, 3 Douglas Row, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD                        3
             Tel: 01478611285 Fax: 01478612519 Email:
Tourism Innovation Group
In last month's newsletter we looked at the latest developments in establishing the new national tourism
network. This month, we take a look at the new Tourism Innovation Group (TIG), which is part of the
Scottish Tourism Forum. The Scottish Tourism Forum is the leading independent body in Scottish tourism,
created to represent industry views and take those views to government and public agencies. The Forum
comprises tourism trade associations, companies, individuals and local marketing groups who earn their
living from tourism or have an active interest in tourism.
The Tourism Innovation Group was formed in 2002 as a private sector group to profile and promote
innovation across the Scottish Tourism industry – focussing on the development of new products and
services and new ways of working. The group has over forty active members – which includes business
leaders and established entrepreneurs from across the tourism industry, along with key representatives from
the principal national support agencies. The TIG is currently working on a number of projects which cover
themes such as transport, communication, sustainability and global perspectives. For more information
about the TIG, contact Project Manager Ewan McKendrick on 0131 220 6321 or email You can find out more about both the Scottish Tourism Forum and the Tourism
Innovation Group online at The new Scottish Tourism Forum will be online soon

Portree Hospital Upgrade
Work is due to start on a £1.8 million upgrade at Portree Hospital. The new refurbishment will increase the
hospital's capacity from 13 to 18 beds. As a result, Gesto Hospital in Edinbane will close and patients will
be moved to Portree when work is completed. A decade ago there was a huge community campaign against
the closure of Gesto Hospital, but now there is general agreement that the facility can no longer provide the
modern day requirements of a hospital.

Unst Partnership Shortlisted for Award
The Unst Partnership has been shortlisted for a prestigious Vision in Business for the Environment in
Scotland (VIBES) award. The Unst partnership, formed during the 1990s, has been instrumental in
regenerating the island's population by attracting new businesses into the area and focusing on
environmentally friendly schemes and eco-tourism.
The VIBES awards recognise and reward the efforts of Scottish businesses to become more efficient and
competitive through improving environmental performance. This year's awards ceremony takes place on
Tuesday 7th December.

Plans for Development at Sabhal Mor Ostaig
Proposals for the development of the new Fás Centre at Sabhal Mor Ostaig Gaelic College on Skye have
been revealed. The new £8 million creative and cultural business centre will contain a mixture of small and
medium-sized enterprises in the cultural and digital technology sectors, a visual arts studio, a visual arts
research centre and an exhibition area.

Tiree Jobs Confirmed
The Scottish Executive has confirmed that eight civil service jobs are to be relocated from Edinburgh to
Tiree. The Crofting Building Grants and Loans scheme is currently being reorganised and will be moved to
the island next summer, where it is likely to be made up of mainly locally recruited staff. The move is seen
as providing a great boost to the viability and economic prosperity of the island.

Archaeologists Visit Lismore
A team of archaeologists from Cambridge and Glasgow universities has been investigating two Iron Age
sites on the Isle of Lismore as part of a six-year project. They hope that their work will redress the current
lack of knowledge about Argyll's Iron Age history and will also document settlement patterns on the small
island which can then be compared with other iron age settlements in Scotland. Lismore has 14 known Iron
Age sites.

         The Scottish Islands Network, 3 Douglas Row, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD                        4
              Tel: 01478611285 Fax: 01478612519 Email:
Heisger Schoolhouse Gifted to Local Community
The old schoolhouse on Heisgeir (one of the Monach Isles as they are also known - a cluster of five small
now-uninhabited islands in the Western Isles) has been gifted by its owners to the newly formed Trust for
Heisgeir / Friends of the Schoolhouse. Heisgeir once supported a population of more than a hundred
people in the 19th century, but the population had shrunk to 33 in 1931 and by 1942 the island was
uninhabited. Many Uist families can trace their ancestry back to the island and the new Trust will aim to
sustain these connections and maintain the building to develop interpretation and support traditional skills.
If you would like more information or can help support repairs to the schoolhouse, contact the Trustees on

Drastic Steps to Provide Dental Cover in Western Isles
Western Isles Health Board is planning to take unique action to address the acute shortage of dentists in
Lewis by establishing its own dental practice. The board is planning to ask the Scottish Executive for extra
funding to enable them to buy the island's existing practice or set up its own. One of the island's dentists
had to stop registering new patients a year ago because of his excessive workload. The crisis is being
attributed to high salaries in the private sector causing poorly paid rural dentists to leave for better pay.

Easdale Harbour Improvements Underway
Work is nearly complete on Interim Improvements to the historic Easdale Harbour, which was built in 1826
to service the island's slate quarrying inductry. Work has included dredging of the harbour, temporary
propping of a collapsed wall and a digital survey of the harbour. A new pontoon will allow increased and
safer access to the smaller more commonly used boats in the harbour and is shortly to be installed using
local voluntary labour. The Eilean Eisdeal Trust which owns the lease on the harbour and is currently in the
process of buying it hopes to secure further funding for the full restoration of the harbour.
Keep up to date with news from Easdale by subscribing to the Eilean Eisdeal Trust's newsletter. Contact
Donald Melville – – for more information.

Barra Handover
The Scottish Executive now owns almost all of the islands of Barra and Vatersay after Professor Ian
Macneil – the 46th hereditary Clan Macneil chief – signed over control of 9,000 acres of land to the
Environment and Rural Affairs Department. The Executive will manage the land, but an eventual move to
community ownership is the aim.

Lismore Ferry Poll Causes Controversy
Islanders on Lismore recently participated in a referendum on proposed changes to the island's ferry
services. Islanders were asked to vote for one of three options – improving the existing vehicle service
between the island and Oban, moving the vehicle ferry to run from Point in the North of the island to Port
Appin with a linked bus service, or swapping the services with the vehicle ferry running to Port Appin and
a passenger service running straight to Oban. At the moment, there is a vehicle crossing between Lismore
and Oban which takes 50 minutes and a council-run passenger ferry between Lismore and Port Appin
which takes 10 minutes.
There is now a dispute about the referendum's results as Argyll and Bute Council cannot consider as a
viable option the introduction of a vehicular ferry to Port Appin and a passenger ferry to Oban, despite the
majority of islanders participating in the survey supporting this option.
A review of all Argyll & Bute Council's ferry services is due for publication in the New Year.

Puffins Return to Ailsa Craig
For the first time in almost half a century, puffins are returning to Ailsa Craig – the uninhabited island off
the west coast of Scotland, famous as a source of granite used to make curling stones. The birds have
started to return after being wiped out by an infestation of rats introduced to the island last century and
there are now between 10 and 20 breeding pairs. The island became an RSPB nature reserve earlier this
year. The island is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is a European Special
Protection Area.

         The Scottish Islands Network, 3 Douglas Row, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD                            5
              Tel: 01478611285 Fax: 01478612519 Email:
Wildlife Lovers Watch Life on Isle of May
The Isle of May, off South East Scotland, is home to a colony of 3,000 grey seals and 200,000 nesting
seabirds – including an estimated 100,000 puffins. Now, visitors to the Scottish Seabird Centre in North
Berwick can enjoy watching amazing pictures of the island's wildlife using new state of the art cameras and
telescopes based at the centre.
Only one-and-a-half kilometres long, the Isle of May is a national nature reserve managed by Scottish
Natural Heritage.

Sullom Quarry Plans Amendment
In last month's newsletter I incorrectly stated that plans to increase extraction at the Sullom Quarry in
Shetland had been put forward by local company Nicolson Plant Hire. In fact, Nicolson Plant sold the
quarry to an unknown company based in the north of England and it is this group of businessmen who are
behind the expansion plans, not the local firm.

The Need for a Food Revolution

This month, guest columnist Eleanor Scott MSP writes about the Green Party's campaign for a Food
Revolution in Scotland:

The Green MSPs have just launched a campaign for a Food Revolution in Scotland, to stop the
supermarket-driven trend towards poor quality mass-produced blandness and instead to promote healthy,
affordable, ethical, local food that we can really trust. As my part of the campaign, I am addressing the
problem of rural abattoirs, which might sound like a bit of a side-issue but actually gets to the very heart of
what is wrong with the food industry in this country.
Supermarket chains like to simplify their lines of supply, and in the case of meat this usually means that
each chain sources the bulk of its meat from a single abattoir. So lamb that has been finished in the
Highlands and Islands must be trucked all the way to the south of England for slaughter, only to be driven
in its cling-film wrapper all the way back up to our supermarket shelves. This system favours the biggest
farmers in central locations, penalises livestock producers in isolated areas and on the islands and is leading
to an ever smaller number of increasingly industrialised abattoirs.
In the past 20 years the number of red meat abattoirs in Scotland has nearly halved, down from 79 to only
44. Most of the closures are of small, rural abattoirs. Many have folded because they can't afford the costs
of meeting our bureaucratic meat hygiene regulations, which again favour big operations with a large
through-put of livestock.
But look at the advantages of small rural abattoirs. They create employment in fragile economies. They
reduce the need for animals to be transported long distances, which is good for animal welfare, saves local
farmers and crofters money, and is better for biosecurity because it can help limit the spread of infectious
diseases. They are often more humane because the livestock are handled singly or in very small numbers.
Most importantly of all, to my mind, is the role of rural abattoirs in linking up local food chains, enabling
people to eat meat that has been locally grown and creating economic connections between livestock
producers and their local butchers, hotels, restaurants, schools and nursing homes. I believe it is important
for us all to understand where the food we eat comes from and how it is produced, and the knowledge that
we are eating local produce can be a source of pride in our area, not to mention its attraction to the tourist
Last summer I visited the community-owned slaughterhouse on Mull, and was inspired by the way it is
managed with the involvement of local farmers, and how it links up with the butcher in Tobermory, which
is also community-owned. This is a model that I would like to see replicated throughout the islands.
On December 15 I am leading a debate in Parliament in which I will be seeking the support of the Scottish
Executive to establish a network of new, small abattoirs that can help to deliver good local food and
contribute to prosperity throughout rural Scotland. Whether it's a slap-up steak, the Sunday roast, or the
sausages for breakfast, I want more of us to have access to meat grazed on local grass, knowing that the
money we have paid for our food has stayed in our own community, rather than feeding the coffers of
multinational agribusiness and supermarkets.

         The Scottish Islands Network, 3 Douglas Row, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD                        6
              Tel: 01478611285 Fax: 01478612519 Email:

Gairm Fianais Air Bile Na Gàidhlig (Alba)
Tha Comataidh Foghlaim Pàrlamaid na h-Alba air gairm fianais fhoillseachadh, a tha a' sireadh bheachdan
bho dhaoine aig a bheil ùidh ann am bun-phrionnsabalan Bile na Gàidhlig (Alba). Is e adhbhar a' Bhile
buidheann a stèidheachadh air am bi an t-ainm Bòrd na Gàidhlig , agus air am bi e mar phrìomh
dhleastanas a bhith a' cur air adhart na Gàidhlig gu roi-innleachdail agus gus plana nàiseanta ullachadh
airson na Gàidhlig. Tha am Bile cuideachd a' toirt coimeas do Bhòrd na Gàidhlig a thoirt air buidhnean
poblach planaichean Gàidhlig ullachadh.
Bu mhath le Comataidh an Fhoghlaim fianais-sgrìobhte fhaighinn mu na prìomh cheistean a tha ag èirigh à
Bile na Gàidhlig (Alba) mar a chaidh a thoirt a-steach, mar thaic don Chomataidh fhad „s a tha iad ri
beachdachadh aig Ìre 1 den Bhile. Thuirt neach-gairm na Comataidh, Raibeart MacilleDhuinn BPA, “tha
mi an dòchas gun gabh duine sam bith aig a bheil ùidh anns a' Ghàidhlig agus na tha an dàn dhi – an dà
chuid sa chànain agus sa chultair – an cothrom seo gus na beachdan aca a chur air adhart”.
Tha an Gairm Fianais ri fhaighinn aig:
Is e an ceann-latha mu dheireadh airson gabhail ri fianais-sgrìobhte 30 Samhain 2004. Tha Comataidh an
Fhoghlaim a‟ dèanamh rannsachadh air Bile na Gàidhlig (Alba) aig an àm seo. Bidh iad a‟ gabhail fianais
bheòil aig na coinneamhan a bhios a‟ gabhail àite air na làithean a leanas:
Diciadain 1/12/04 (Seòmraichean a‟ Bhaile, Glaschu), Diciadain 8/12/04 (Seòmar Comataidh 6, Pàrlamaid
na h-Alba), Diciadain 15/12/04 (Seòmar Comataidh 3, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba).
Ma tha duine sam bith airson a bhith san amharc aig coinneamh Comataidh an Fhoghlaim nuair a bhios i a'
beachdachadh air Bile na Gàidhlig (Alba), tha tiocaidean rim faighinn saor is an asgaidh bho Ionad Luchd-
tadhail na Pàrlamaid air 0131 348 5200. Bu chòir dhuibh tiocaid a chur air dòigh ron choinneimh. Bidh
tiocaidean airson gach coinneamh rim faighinn seachdain ron choinneimh. Ma tha sibh airson tiocaidean a
chur air dòigh airson sianar no barrachd, is urrainnear tiocaidean a chur air dòigh barrachd air seachd
làithean ro làimh. Cuiribh fios thugainn airson barrachd fiosrachaidh.
Bidh coinneamhan na Comataidh cuideachd air an craoladh beò air an eadar-lìon air
Faodar coimhead air na coinneamhan as dèidh làimh mar fhaidhlichean air airson suas ri
dà sheachdain. Tha pàipearan airson na comataidh a‟ gabhail a-staigh tagraidhean sgrìobhte rim faighinn

Call for Evidence on the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Bill
The Scottish Parliament's Education Committee is calling for views from all interested parties on the
general principles of the Scottish Executive's Gaelic Language ( Scotland ) Bill. The purpose of the Bill is
to establish Bòrd na Gàidhlig in statute with the responsibility for overseeing the promotion of Gaelic and
for developing a national Gaelic plan. The Bill also enables Bòrd na Gàidhlig to require public bodies to
prepare Gaelic language plans.
The Education Committee is keen to receive written evidence on issues arising from the Bill, as introduced,
to inform the Committee in its consideration of the general principles of the Bill.
The Call for Evidence is available at:
The deadline for written evidence is 30 November 2004.
The Scottish Parliament‟s Education Committee is currently conducting an enquiry into the Gaelic
Language (Scotland) Bill and will be taking evidence from a range of witnesses at a series of meetings:
Wednesday 1/12/04 (The City Chambers, Glasgow), Wednesday 8/12/04 (Committee Room 6, the Scottish
Parliament), Wednesday 15/12/04 (Committee Room 3, the Scottish Parliament).
Members of the public may obtain tickets for the meetings from the Parliamentary visitors‟ centre on 0131
348 5200. Tickets can normally be arranged further in advance for groups of 6 or more.
Committee meetings are broadcast live on the internet at or may be watched for up to two
week afterwards as archive files. Papers for the meetings including written evidence can be seen at:

        The Scottish Islands Network, 3 Douglas Row, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD                      7
             Tel: 01478611285 Fax: 01478612519 Email:
Island Roads
Arran Community Council would like to hear from other island communities about how their roads are
maintained. The Community Council is concerned about the poor condition of roads on Arran and as a
result they recently contacted North Ayrshire Council to ask if it would be possible to site tar-making
machinery on the island so that hot repairs can be made in situ as needed. However, they have been
informed that no commercial firm will supply this facility on islands, as it is not economically viable.
Do you have a story to share about the state of the roads in your local area or can you suggest a possible
solution to the problem? If, so Arran Community Council would like to hear from you.
Contact Alison Prince on 01770 700 574 or email

Future of Rural Development Conference
'The Future of Rural Development‟ is a one day conference organised by the Arkleton Institute for Rural
Development Research. The conference reports the results of several major programmes of work of
relevance to the future of rural development in Scotland. Topics to be covered by the speakers include the
role of social capital in rural development, and the territorial impact of the CAP and the Rural Development
regulations. Other items covered include rural economics, social justice, and nature and society in the
Highlands and Islands. The conference will be based at the University of Aberdeen, King's College Campus
on Thursday 9th December, at a nominal cost of £20 per delegate which includes lunch and refreshments.
The conference programme and registration form are to be found on the Arkleton web-site at:
If you would like to register for the conference please download the registration form, complete it and send
it by post, with your cheque for the sum of £20 to Miss Lucy Young-Smith, Arkleton Institute for Rural
Development Research, St. Mary's Building, Elphinstone Road, Aberdeen, AB24 3UF. Email or telephone 01224 274109 for more information.

Ken Yersel
Ken Yersel aims to create a network of community groups around Scotland which uses simple discussion
games to consider socially important issues, and then share their results through discussion maps published
on the web. Over time, the maps will then be combined and then refined to give a complete picture of all
the important facets of the issue in question. Through organisations such as the Scottish Civic Forum the
final discussion map would be presented to decision makers who would be asked to justify policy decisions
with respect to the issues set out by the community groups.
The initiative offers the potential for great improvement in policy making, at the same time as empowering
and developing community groups.
For more information, visit or contact Colin Fraser on 07971607494 or email

Transport Partnerships Consultation
The Scottish Executive is proposing new arrangements for the implementation of all aspects of regional
public transport. New Regional Transport Partnerships (RPTs) will be made up of representatives from the
local authorities, business interest and other interests.
To submit your views on the new proposals, go to
or contact Ian Kernohan at the Scottish Executive, Statutory Regional Transport Partnership Consultation,
2-D, Victoria Quay, EDINBURGH EH6 6QQ, telephone 0131 244 4010 or email The closing date for submissions is Wednesday 19 January 2005.

BBC Launches New iCAN Website
A new BBC website aimed at helping people to become more active citizens by reading the news has been
launched. Provocative news stories, such as recent stories on the smoking in public places consultation,
include a link to the iCAN pages, where web surfers can find more information about the consultation, and
find links to local campaigns and other ways to get involved. The new site, which also contains useful
guides on how to start campaigns in your local area can be viewed at There are
also local notice boards where you can view local campaigns, events and issues that local residents feel
strongly about.

        The Scottish Islands Network, 3 Douglas Row, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD                         8
             Tel: 01478611285 Fax: 01478612519 Email:
Consultation on the Landfill Allowance Scheme Regulations
This consultation seeks your views on the landfill allowance regulations for a landfill allowance scheme in
Scotland. A consultation on the design of the scheme has already been completed, but this scheme seeks
your views on regulations for the scheme. The scheme aims to reduce the amount of biodegradable
municipal waste sent to landfill in Scotland, in order to comply with EU regulations. The consultation is
online at For more information contact Gary
Gray at Area 1-J Victoria Quay Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ, Email or telephone
0131 244 0199. The deadline for responses to the consultation is Friday 24 December 2004.

Shellfish Water Designations Consultation
Currently, there are 104 waters in Scotland designated as shellfish waters. This consultation suggests
another 10 sites as potential shellfish waters – including sites off Shetland and Mull. The consultation also
puts forward measures to protect the water quality where shellfish grow.
For more information contact Fiona Watt - Scottish Executive, Marine Team, Water Environment Division,
Area 1-H,Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ, telephone 0131 244 7844 or email The consultation is online at and responses must be submitted by
Monday 17 January 2004.

Am Politician
The Am Politician Lounge Bar on Eriskay has recently been renovated by new owners – sisters Morag
Mackinnon and Margaret Campbell from South Uist. The bar – named after the famous ship 'SS Politican'
which ran aground near by and was immortalised in the story 'Whisky Galore' – offers food and drink seven
days a week and features a number of pieces of memorabilia from from the ship including portholes and a
link from the anchor chain.
Find out more about the bar at The website also includes general information
about the Isle of Eriskay.


Futurebuilders Scotland
Futurebuilders Scotland is a Scottish Executive programme that will invest £18 million in the social
economy sector from now until March 2006. The programme will help social economy organisations to
deliver better public services and increase their financial sustainability.
Three strands of funding will be available: A £12 million investment fund to increase the financial
sustainability of existing social economy organisations (£25,000 to £500,000 per application); a £4 million
Seedcorn Fund for organisations that want to take a business like approach, try out new business ideas or
increase their financial sustainability in some other way (up to £25,000 per application); and a £1 million
Learning Fund to help organizations develop skills that will support their business.
Application criteria and guidance for the three funds are currently being developed, with the funds expected
to be open for applications in December. For more information and guidance and application forms when
they become available, visit You
can also contact the Social Economy Unit on 0131 479 5129 for more information.

Look out for more news of the plans to formalise the Scottish Islands Network being sent out later this
week and details of how you can participate and make a difference to the Network's future development!
Cheerio for now,

Please note that the views expressed in this newsletter are for general information and they are not
necessarily the views of the Scottish Islands Network.

        The Scottish Islands Network, 3 Douglas Row, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV51 9DD                       9
             Tel: 01478611285 Fax: 01478612519 Email: