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Highlanders urged to respond to remote communities consultation

By Tom Ramage

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Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes is urging her constituents to respond to a consultation on proposed legislation that would seek to help safeguard communities in remote and rural parts of Scotland.

The Proposed Remote Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill, which was lodged last month by Gail Ross MSP, would enhance the consideration given to such communities by Scottish public bodies.

A similar piece of legislation for Scotland’s islands has already passed during the present Scottish Parliament term, and it is envisioned this draft bill would have a similar effect upon far-flung areas on the mainland.

Ms Forbes, member for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “As much of my constituency is rural and remote, I would encourage as many people as possible to respond to this consultation.

“It is obvious that areas of the Highlands and Islands require additional consideration when it comes to legislation and investment, as proven by the Islands Bill which has just gone through the Parliament.

“This is a Member’s Bill in Gail Ross’ name, but I think this consultation raises awareness of the particular needs of rural areas and I commend Gail for taking this forward.”

According to Scottish Government criteria, remote rural areas are “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”.

The consultation, which includes a question on whether rural constituencies should become smaller despite their relatively small populations (similar to the like of the Western Isles), can be completed online here: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/RemoteRuralCommunities/

The deadline for responses is 31 January 2020.

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