ATMS – Island communities impact assessment well underway

HIAL is undertaking a retrospective island communities impact assessment of its Air Traffic Management Strategy (ATMS) following input from a number of stakeholders.

The ATMS programme was approved in 2018 and while not legally required to do so, HIAL agreed to undertake the impact assessment in the spirit of transparency. To ensure objectivity, HIAL appointed Reference Economic Consultants to undertake the assessment on our behalf.

Inglis Lyon, HIAL’s Managing Director said: “Reference Economic Consultants has a wealth of experience, having provided extensive economic and research services for the public sector across the Highlands and Islands, including each of our island local authorities and Highland.

“As there is currently no guidance on how island impact assessments should be undertaken, the Scottish Government Islands Team was consulted for guidance before starting the process.

“The approach the independent consultant is taking reflects the Islands Act’s requirement that an islands impact assessment should ‘describe the likely significantly different effect of the policy, strategy or service compared to its effect on other communities (including other island communities) in the area in which the authority exercises its functions’

“The process underway will also assess ‘the extent to which the authority considers that the policy, strategy or service can be developed or delivered in such a manner as to improve or mitigate, for island communities, the outcomes resulting from it’.”

Mr Lyon continued:   “The island community impact assessment will not recommend whether the programme should or should not go ahead, rather it will highlight where mitigating actions are required to address any significant impact the programme may have on a particular community.”

The assessment process is well underway and is now focused on engagement with local community representatives.   HIAL’s previous engagement on the ATMS programme has been on a face-to-face basis. However, Mr Matthew is working with local authorities to determine the best way to engage with community groups given the current restrictions due to Coronavirus.

Reference Economic Consultants is currently contacting community representatives as part of the consultation process and Mr Lyon encourages those contacted to engage with the process saying: “It is important that local representatives contribute to the assessment of potential economic and community impacts.

“HIAL looks forward to receiving the report with the findings from Reference Economic Consultants following completion of the consultation phase.”