Having received a response to his previous correspondence with Mairi McAllan, Minister for Environment and Net Zero, Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil is seeking clarification from the Scottish Government on their position that no HPMAs will be forced on communities who do not want them.

Mr MacNeil has spoken out many times in opposition to the proposals for HPMAs and last month he wrote to First Minister, Humza Yousaf, and Minister for Environment and Net Zero, Mairi McAllan, to stress the strength of feeling against HPMAs in Na h-Eileanan an Iar.

Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said:

“I was encouraged by the first half of the letter from Mairi McAllan which stated that HPMAs would not be designated without community engagement. However, the second half of the letter, stated that ‘sites will be situated across the whole of sea area’, and they ‘will be based on the best available evidence’ along with ‘further consultation when sites are selected’. This would seem to be incompatible because from what I understand no community wants HPMAs. Therefore, how can sites be designated without overriding the wishes of communities?

“Given that HPMAs are unwanted in the community, I am asking the Government to clarify that there will be no HPMAs from the 200 miles west of the Hebrides to the Minches.  If the Government’s word means anything, this must be categorically declared now, otherwise, the legislation remains a dangerous trojan horse.”