Shetland MSP Tavish Scott, LibDem, suggested, Thursday 10th May 2018, in the Scottish Parliament that the whole Board of HIAL (Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd) should be dismissed over the introduction of car parking charges at Sumburgh, Kirkwall and Stornoway.
Bringing the debate to the Scottish Parliament Tavish Scott, who himself was once a Transport Minister, attacked HIAL for the proposed charges which were taking place with no consultation. He was supported by other MSPs in the Chamber.
Local MSP Edward Mountain, Conservative, pointed out that although those travelling for medical appointments would not be charged family members wishing to visit them would be. He also felt it would be unfair for those working offshore.
Local MSP Rhoda Grant, Labour, felt it was adding to the cost which islanders were already paying for a lifeline service.
Transport Minister, in the Scottish Government, Humza Yousaf, stated that HIAL had the figures on how much income would be generated by the car parking charges and that it would be reinvested.
He insisted that the measures were proportionate and would insure the sustainability of the service.
He also informed the Chamber that he had received very little correspondence about the issue.
He did , however, agree to meet with Tavish Scott to look at his alternative proposals.
You can watch the whole debate here: Members’ Business: HIAL’s Car Parking Charges – 10 May 2018
HIAL’s Car Parking Charges
“That the Parliament notes the reported widespread public concern in response to the recent decision by Highland and Island Airport Ltd (HIAL) to impose car parking charges at Sumburgh, Kirkwall and Stornoway airports; understands that this decision was taken without any prior consultation with airport users, the local authorities or the airport consultative committees, despite HIAL’s Strategic Plan promising “effective collaboration with airport users and stakeholders”; believes that this decision will overwhelmingly affect island residents who use the airports as part of a lifeline service for accessing the mainland and who already face what it considers to be relatively high costs for doing so; understands that Sumburgh Airport is 25 miles away from the main town of Lerwick and that its remoteness means many islanders have little option but to drive to the airport; believes that the transport links between these island airports and many of the areas that they serve are intermittent, do not meet every flight and do not always connect the airports with outlying areas; understands that this lack of public transport infrastructure forces many islanders to leave their cars at the airports, in many cases for weeks at a time if they are working offshore or abroad, and notes the calls for HIAL to reconsider this proposal.”