Dear Orkney News,
I guess it may seem strange to celebrate a day of strike action by workers providing a lifeline service, but in the case of the HIAL air traffic controllers I think that I am justified.
HIAL and the Scottish government which has given it full backing on this issue, are insistent on carrying out changes which reports produced for HIAL state that their programme will be detrimental to service provision and the communities in which these airports are based.
Aside from the loss of employment, risks to service provision and the possibility that renewable energy projects could be stymied by the needs of the proposed new system, there is the very real question is the Island proofing legislation just a fig leaf?
I get the feeling that just like the Westminster politicians and civil servants who devised the freedom of information system (FOI), their cousins at Holyrood didn’t think through the implications. Folk are always interested in what those who are supposed to serve us are up to and FOI has provided the statuary right to ask for information. The requests are on a scale which the architects of FOI stupidly underestimated.
I think the same misconception applies to the Island proofing legislation in Scotland. The architects thought that it would look nice for the peasants in the Isles, whilst in the real world folk like me expected the legislation to pass the Cuprinol test. When HIAL where pressured into carrying out an Island Community Impact Assessment (ICIA), they made it clear that whatever the findings of the ICIA they would continue with the project as planned. This approach had the full backing of the Scottish Government Minister, even though it flew directly in the face of the supposed reality of the Island proofing legislation.
So the question hangs in the air like a parentless fart, do the views and needs of Island communities carry any real weight with politicians and the public bodies who answer to them?
Jon Southerington, Orkney
Ed’s Note: HIAL – Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd is a private limited company wholly owned by Scottish Government Ministers.
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