Scottish Greens Say They Will Continue To Challenge HIAL’s Remote Towers Regardless of The SNP/Green Deal

Orkney Greens have issued the following statement following publication in The Orkney News of Scottish Transport Minister Avoiding Meeting With Air Traffic Controllers and this The SNP/Green Deal: An Islands’ Perspective.

“The draft Political Cooperation Agreement between the Scottish Government and the Scottish Green Party Parliamentary Group has not yet been agreed by SGP members or SGP Council, a decision on which will be made this coming Saturday 28 August at an EGM.

“Notwithstanding the result of this decision, SGP Members, Branches, Councillors and MSPs will remain at liberty to continue to challenge the centralisation of ATC. HIAL as a company 100% owned by Scottish Minsters is a Cabinet responsibility, and nothing to do with the Scottish Parliament, or indeed any SGP Ministers appointed to the Scottish Government. Green Ministers would not be sitting in Cabinet and therefore would not be bound by collective Cabinet responsibility.

“The Orkney Greens will continue to oppose the centralisation plans contained in the HIAL ATMS proposals, for example Councillor Steve Sankey participated in a Jobs Summit organised by Prospect as recently as 5 August, and endorsed the need to lobby the Transport Minister Graeme Dey vigorously.

“In addition, the Green MSP for the Highlands & Islands, Ariane Burgess, gave the following statement:

“My support for the workers at HIAL’s airports remains firm, as does my opposition to centralised air traffic control. While the Scottish Greens have long since criticised the environmentally destructive aviation industry, we have also always recognised the need for lifeline air routes to serve communities in the Highlands and Islands which is why HIAL is specifically mentioned in the agreement. Unfortunately Ms Grant MSP has misunderstood the nature of the deal between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government. It will allow us to cooperate productively, delivering real benefit for people and communities across Scotland, while acknowledging that our Parties will not always agree on everything.”

This is good news if indeed Greens, including their MSPs continue to call for a halt to HIAL’s Remote Towers project.

But Is This The Case ?

In The Co-operation Agreement, Annex, Excluded Matters, section 6 it states:

“Recognising that an agreement to collaborate and cooperation on budgets and matters of supply does not prevent us from having different visions for the long-term future of Scotland’s economy and on support for certain sectors, aviation policy (except in respect of island aviation connectivity and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited), the future of green ports, and direct financial support to businesses involved in the aerospace, defence and security sectors are excluded from this agreement.”

The important phrase there is ” except in respect of island aviation connectivity and Highlands and Islands Airports Limited ” – Green Ministers will be bound by the decisions made about HIAL and the Remote Towers – they can ‘have different visions’ on other matters with the exception of HIAL.

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