Dear Orkney News,
The thought provoking letter from Neil Kermode in the Orcadian (Thursday, April 8th 2021) has brought the problems plaguing the Churchill Barriers and how to solve them with an energy boost as a bonus, back into focus. We are hopefully at the point where technical advances in marine renewables meets a willingness from politicians to solve the perennial problems on the Barriers. As well as the bridges helping to solve the erosion problems and wave overtopping at Graemshall, the reintroduction of free flowing tidal streams at the eastern end of Scapa Flow is likely to have a beneficial effect all around the coast of the Flow.
The Scottish Green Party plans for the next 5 years and beyond fit neatly with the ideas put forward by Neil.
Here are a few extracts from the Scottish Green Party manifesto published last week:
Create a £25m p.a. top-up revenue support programme for early stage tidal turbines, driving forward innovation and reducing costs.
Invest £50m p.a. into a marine renewables and local economic development fund to invest in local infrastructure and communities, with the aim of maximising the local economic benefits of a growing tidal industry and ensuring its infrastructure needs are met.
Establish a £10m p.a. tidal innovation programme to drive down the cost of tidal energy to under £100/MWh before 2030, slashing the cost of tidal power by up to two-thirds.
Make public support conditional on supporting Scottish supply chains and meeting fair work standards.
Maintain current fixed links that connect island communities such as the Churchill Barriers in Orkney and the Uist and Benbecula Causeways and explore new funding and locations for new lifeline links elsewhere.
Develop a funded long-term green fleet replacement strategy to ensure all services throughout Scotland benefit from reliable, efficient and zero carbon ferries. Categorise inter-island ferries as publicly owned Scottish National Infrastructure delivered by Transport Scotland and Calmac, on Local Authorities’ request, and ensure these services are adequately funded.
Ensure Council-owned and operated ferries receive sufficient annual resources to allow Island Councils to operate their internal ferries at no net detriment to their annual revenue settlement.
The Scottish Greens have a strong track record of producing positive results for the people of Scotland by bringing constructive ideas to the table at Holyrood, and the plans listed above are just a taster of the clear eyed ideas in our manifesto which with the votes of the Scottish electorate can be brought to fruition. I know that at heart, no matter what our political or constitutional persuasion, we all want a cleaner, fairer, better connected Scotland, so please make your mark for the Scottish Greens on the regional list. This really is the election to vote like our futures depend on it.
Jon Southerington, Orkney