As Co-convenor of the Orkney Greens, I’m pleased to be able to write a short piece for the Orkney News. I thought it appropriate to look ahead to May’s OIC elections, and give you a taste of what the Greens will be prioritising locally. We will have two candidates in two Wards: myself, in the East Mainland, Burray and South Ronaldsay Ward; and Helen Woodsford-Dean in the West Mainland Ward.
We took a decision to positively stand as Scottish Green Party candidates as we don’t feel that the current system of 21 Independent councillors is serving the Orkney people very well. With the exception of the Orkney Manifesto Group, we’ve no idea what our current councillors stand for, or how they make their decisions – much is done in secret behind closed doors. If voters elect us, we’d like to think that a vote for the two Scottish Green Party candidates in Orkney would help to move seven key issues forward in our islands. We’d be grateful for your support!
- Keep the RESOLUTION OF THE BARRIER ISSUE high on OIC’s agenda with the addition of renewable tidal turbines to construct a safer corner at Barrier #2. This arterial link is important for the supply of Kirkwall shops and travellers throughout Orkney.
- Aim to REDUCE FUEL POVERTY IN ORKNEY by connecting individual households to large-scale renewable energy projects. The proposed Hesta Head turbines on South Ronaldsay should not be given approval unless this objective is met.
- Improve child and road safety in the ‘Hope by seeking a ‘TWENTY’S PLENTY ZONE’ around the village centre of St. Margaret’s Hope with its bad bends and ferry traffic. This initiative was started by the ‘Hope School Parent Council and the Community Council.
- IMPROVE RURAL TRANSPORT SERVICES by encouraging small business start-ups to connect the South Parish and parts of West Mainland with Kirkwall and Stromness. A bus service monopoly is not ideal in remote rural areas, and in any event, our aged bus fleet should be using electric vehicles to use our surplus green energy.
- ENSURE BETTER TOURISM MANAGEMENT IN ORKNEY, seeking to optimise the growth of tourism from cruise liners, coach tours and traditional visitors in a sustainable way for the benefit of all; and lobby for a new Visitor Centre for the Heart of Neolithic Orkney around Stenness. Visiting cruise liners must use surplus green energy when visiting our ports.
- Ensure that OIC does not hold any investments on your behalf in companies dealing in ARMS MANUFACTURING OR THE ARMS TRADE, and seek to initiate a socially-responsible investment policy.
- ENCOURAGE OPEN GOVERNMENT AND LESS SECRECY starting with three topical issues: an open and objective review of the potential short-sea crossing from Burwick; a public examination of the Barrier solution options; and public access to budgetary discussions ahead. Transparency is particularly important with the budgetary process – to save as much as £12 million in five years cannot be done secretly. Both Orkney Green Councillors if elected will hold regular surgeries with constituents – we suggest that others should do likewise.