Letters: Open Letter from Councillor Sankey to HIAL

envelopeOpen Letter from Scottish Green Party Councillor, Steve Sankey

To Ms Lorna Jack Chair, HIAL

I write in my capacity as a Member of Orkney Islands Council, to query and seek a review of the governance process that you adopted in making a decision to impose charging for car parking at Kirkwall airport.

As you may be aware, this is not a new issue, as HIAL withdrew a similar proposal several years ago after allegations of unfairness and discrimination. On that occasion, no consultation had been undertaken, and charges were not proposed for introduction at Stornoway and Sumburgh airports. I note that there remains no intention to introduce charges for car parking for example at Islay and Wick airports, and thus this element of unfairness and discrimination remains.

The return of this proposal has, once again, not been shared with your key partners identified in your Strategic Plan 2009-19, including Orkney Islands Council. Nor has this intent been discussed by the Kirkwall Airport Consultative Committee at its last meeting on 15 January 2018. Such a forum exists in part to ensure that users in remote rural areas, with very poor access to public transport are able to discuss access to your services. Much of Orkney’s population, including my Ward, is served extremely badly by public transport and therefore my constituents depend heavily on private vehicles.

I conclude that you have failed to assess this proposal adequately in any public forum and with any of your partners. There is little point in publishing a cascade of governance structures and tools, from Board minutes (which are heavily redacted); Scottish Government principles; HIAL Publication Scheme Class 3 how HIAL takes decisions; and a Strategic Plan containing stakeholder engagement principles – if you have no intention of adhering to such practice. Moreover, and ironically, your Strategic Plan develops in some detail the corporate culture that you wish to pursue, one of honesty and openness, and “resource allocation through robust strategic planning and effective collaboration with airport users & stakeholders”.

My view is that the proposal for charging for car parking at Kirkwall airport will discriminate against my constituents: I would therefore like to see evidence of any Equality Impact Assessments or other appraisals that were done prior to this policy being agreed by your Board.

Finally, there is no doubt that Kirkwall Airport car park needs improved management and resources in order to overcome the present shortage of parking space at peak times. I’m sure, however, that you would wish such improvement to be agreed in partnership, and not as proposed under the present circumstances.

I look forward to your reply and accompanying assessments.

Orkney GreensYours sincerely

Steve Sankey Councillor: East Mainland, South Ronaldsay

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