The forum will focus on connectivity, recognising the importance of physical and digital connectivity to islands, particularly those with no fixed links to the mainland.
The UK government has invited eligible council leaders and chief executives of island communities in all parts of the UK to take part in the third forum. The devolved administrations will also have a key role, with ministers from the Scottish and Welsh governments invited and the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland.
The Islands Forum helps to level up island communities by encouraging collaboration to tackle common challenges such as skills, connectivity and infrastructure, as well as to explore shared opportunities including the transition to net zero. It also allows the UK government to hear and learn from island communities to inform future policy.
October’s forum follows successful forums in Orkney in September 2022 and on the Isle of Wight in May 2023, where members agreed to collaborate further on net zero and skills. The Orkney forum also included a discussion with the energy regulator, Ofgem, leading to further direct engagement, unlocking important investments for island communities.
Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove MP said:
The Islands Forum is a significant bi-annual event bringing together island communities who contribute so much to the UK.
The first two forums in Orkney and the Isle of Wight clearly demonstrated the strong appetite for us to all work together to benefit communities. I look forward to meeting again on the Isle of Lewis, to discuss connectivity, reflecting the physical and digital connectivity challenges islands face.
I know the Isle of Lewis’ geography, heritage and language traditions will provide a thought-provoking location to discuss the unique issues facing our incredible islands across the UK.
Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) Paul Steele said:
People in the Western Isles and other UK islands face unique challenges and the next Islands Forum presents another opportunity for us all to collaborate further, finding potential solutions with government ministers. I look forward to meeting with Secretary of State for Levelling Up Michael Gove MP and discussing connectivity alongside future funding and growth opportunities.
Source : Gov.UK