Consultation launched for council wards review on Scotland’s islands

A proposed shake-up of council wards in local authorities covering Scotland’s islands has taken a step forward.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland began its consultation with Western Isles Council, Shetlands Island Council and Orkney Islands Council.

The consultation, which will run until May 20, is part of the first phase of a review of electoral arrangements the commission is carrying out for councils covering Scotland’s islands.

Reviewers will make recommendations for the number of councillors on each council and the number and boundaries of council wards.

A new law for Scotland’s islands allows for wards to have just one or two members if it includes an inhabited island, while wards elsewhere in Scotland must have three or four councillors.

Commission chairman Ronnie Hinds said: “It is important that electoral arrangements for Scottish councils are effective and that our proposals deliver on requirements for electoral parity and, as far as possible, take account of local ties and special geographical considerations.

“We also welcome the flexibility offered by the Islands (Scotland) Act to use one or two member wards and have used this flexibility as appropriate in our proposals.

“After completion of our consultation with councils we will be seeking public views on our proposals over the summer.”

The second phase of the review involves Argyll and Bute, Highland and North Ayrshire councils.

The commission will make its recommendations to Scottish Ministers by May 2021, ahead of local government elections the following May.

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