The Sustainable Orkney Conference which was due to be held on the 20th, 21st and 22nd of March at the Pickaquoy Centre has been postponed due to health risks around COVID-19.
The organisers felt that the risk of the virus being in Orkney when the conference was originally due is high.
‘We are not doing this lightly’, said event Chair Neil Kermode.
“A lot of time and effort has gone into organising the conference, but we couldn’t in good conscience risk the health of the attendees, volunteers and wider Orkney community by gathering as a large group at this uncertain time.”
Nearly 200 local people had been due to meet at the Picky over the three-day event to map out what Orkney is already doing to decarbonise and be sustainable.
Orkney Renewable Energy Forum (OREF) is committed to holding the conference and getting as many people as possible to contribute, however no new date has been set at the moment.
‘We know this will be a disappointment to some’ said Neil, ‘but we need this event to be inclusive and comprehensive. If we have big gaps in the sessions or audience because people don’t feel comfortable attending, then we run the risk of failing to be inclusive. We know issues of sustainability are high on Orkney’s agenda, but in the light of the virus we feel that this is the safest way to proceed at the moment.’
OREF will be investigating whether some of the work of the conference can be initially achieved online without gathering people physically.
‘We will be back’ said Neil, ‘this is absolutely postponement. It is not cancellation’.
A wise decision. Leading by example.