Letter: ‘Bemused’ at OIC Secrecy

Dear Orkney News,

Having read the article on the Islands deal in the Orcadian (15-10-2020) I am a little bemused. I spent a day at a workshop with a decent number of people almost 2 years ago, discussing and putting forward ideas on the proposed Islands Deal. At no point did I sign a secrecy agreement on what was discussed. Yet now I see that the submission to the Scottish and UK governments is confidential. I would be grateful if OIC would explain why this is the case.

On a separate but linked issue, the new Harbours Plan seems to heavily weighted to investing in the sunset industries of oil and gas. There are a number of issues with this idea:

  • Firstly, OIC declared a climate emergency, so why are they planning to invest in servicing an industry which is a primary cause of the emergency?
  • Secondly, OIC will be playing catch up with other local authorities that have already invested in this area, so we may end up making major investments in order to get crumbs from the table.
  • Thirdly, Orkney has a global reputation in the renewable energy field, so why is OIC not looking at the super long term opportunities of offshore renewables and building up the support services in Orkney for this field of endeavour?

As a Green Party member I expect OIC to act on its fine words over the climate emergency, and will be watching the actions of elected politicians and when it comes to an election, I will campaign and vote for candidates who step up and do the right thing for the future of Orkney and the wider world.

Jon Southerington, Orkney

Ed’s note: readers may like more information on The Islands Growth Deal

Prime Minister Boris Johnson Visits Orkney

Islands Growth Deal Strategic Outline Cases

The total value of the projects being submitted by Orkney is £33.4 million split across four Orkney specific projects and three Pan Island Programmes. A fifth Orkney specific project (Vertical Farming) is also included currently given the interest expressed by UK Government and would attract a further £2 million. OIC

The Council will be contributing £43,544.40 to the development of some of the Strategic Outline Cases. This is allocated per the table below with £28,544.40 from the Islands Deal Budget and £15,000 for the Scapa Flow LNG Hub project costs being met by the Harbour Authority

Orkney Harbours Masterplan – Phase 1

4 replies »

  1. I’m bemused by just about everything about how OIC is run, and led.

    What can we do about it? That’s always the question. We do vote them in.

    Though, we didn’t vote for Stockan as Leader – his fellow Councillors chose him.

    But we, chose those Councillors.

    Bemused – doesn’t describe it.

  2. Please see my letters in “The Orcadian” over the past few weeks.
    Towards the end of the last council, at a General Meeting I moved an amendment that the term of office of “Leader” be 2 years, not 5. One reason I gave is that at the start of a new council, many of the councillors are new and are unlikely to be familiar with the candidates standing for that position and will find it hard to judge their potential. Regrettably, my amendment was defeated. I do try.

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