Last week I gave a speech in the chamber on the third stage of the Harbours (Scotland) Bill. Ports are a national asset, and it is vital that we allow them to flourish without the threat of privatisation attached to any considerable financial success; of onerous paperwork; or of unproductive dispute resolution. The trust port model is a significant section of Scotland’s harbours, and I celebrate its improvement.
Our ports and harbours can be the beating hearts of coastal communities, and this is certainly true in Portpatrick Harbour, a community owned harbour in my region. Their story is inspiring, and I commend the Portpatrick Community Benefit Society for the innovative action they took to save the lynchpin of the local economy. The Portpatrick Harbour Community Benefit Society arranged qualification to be the first Scottish charitable community benefit society, and was able to secure Portpatrick Harbour into full community ownership in August 2015 by selling community shares.
As a keen proponent of community empowerment, this debate was a great opportunity to highlight these models to the Scottish Government ministers. Our ports are both rich in history and modern links to the rest of the world. Thanks to the Portpatrick community, this history is preserved, and the harbour remains a productive asset and trailblazer for other coastal communities.
Scotland is blessed with a long and indented coastline, offering exhilarating views that are never too far away. Our ports are enriched in history whilst being an outward and modern link to the rest of the world.
Read my full speech here, and visit the harbour website to learn more – http://portpatrickharbour.org/index.html