Islands Review - Highland council area Public Consultation

Closed 26 Jan 2021

Opened 4 Nov 2020


We have conducted a Review of Electoral Arrangements for The Highland Council area.

The Review recommended to Scottish Ministers the number of councillors and ward boundaries for The Highland Council.

The public consultation ran from November 2020 until January 2021.

Our final proposals:

  • make no changes to the boundaries of six of the existing wards: Cromarty Firth; Eilean a' Chèo; Fort William and Ardnamurchan; Nairn and Cawdor; North, West and Central Sutherland; and Thurso and Northwest Caithness;
  • reduce forecast variation from electoral parity of over 10% from eleven existing wards to seven wards;
  • improve variation from electoral parity in Sutherland;
  • consider special geographic circumstances in relation to variation from electoral parity in the proposed Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward due to its remoteness and poor transport links;
  • recognise local community ties in the Black Isle;
  • create more recognisable ward boundaries by Inverness, Tain and Knoydart. Our proposals also better align with the historical Caithness – Sutherland county boundary and Cairngorm National Park boundary;
  • take account of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 and retained Eilean a' Chèo as an island ward and renamed Caol and Mallaig to include a reference to the Small Isles and so recognise the island communities within the ward; and
  • take account of the Scottish Elections (Reform) Act 2020 that allowed the use of 2-member and 5-member wards to design wards that consider local ties in Sutherland and Dingwall and created more easily identifiable ward boundaries in and to the south of Inverness.

Why your views matter

One of the main reasons we undertake reviews is that the population, and therefore the electorate, of any local authority area is constantly changing, with migration into or out of areas as well as within the same area. As a result of these changes, some councillors may represent considerably more or fewer electors than other councillors in the same council area.

The Islands (Scotland) Act 2018 introduced the use of one or two member wards where a ward containing an inhabited island, in addition to the current multi-member ward system. The Act requires us to review the six Councils containing inhabited islands, including The Highland Council, as soon as possible.

We expect our proposals, if accepted, to be in place for the next local government elections in May 2022


What happens next

Thank you for your views.

The Commission has considered all responses to the consultation as it developed its final proposals for Scottish Ministers.

The proposals, if accepted, will be in place for the next local government elections in May 2022.