Western Isles SNP MSP, Alasdair Allan, is today (Wednesday) taking the fight against the European Commission proposals for further environmental designations around Barra direct to Brussels.

Dr Allan has obtained an urgent meeting with European Commission officials to make clear the extent of opposition that exists in Barra to their proposals to place a Marine Special Area of Conservation designation on the Sound of Barra and Mingulay. Dr. Allan commented:

"The previous Labour/LibDem Executive was designation-mad and the last thing we now need is Brussels forcing Scotland into designating Barra even more tightly.

"Today I will be meeting Micheal O'Briain of the European Commission's Directorate General, Environment, Nature and Biodiversity Unit in Brussels and making it clear to him that the community in Barra is already highly constrained by designations.

"The community needs serious guarantees that existing fishing practises, as well as future economic developments can go ahead. Barra and South Uist councillor, Donald Manford, and myself have already met Scottish ministers about this issue and it is very clear the SAC is being pushed from the European Commission - not from Scotland.

"The initiative comes, from a European Commission which shows little understanding in this instance of how difficult it is to maintain the human population in Europe's most fragile communities.

"When in Brussels I will be making these points forcefully, along with SNP fisheries spokesperson in Europe, Ian Hudghton MEP."

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