Despite being in the Scottish Government with two Ministers, the Scottish Greens will continue to oppose Highland and Islands Airports Ltd’s (HIAL) deeply unpopular Remote Towers Project. The HIAL Plan to remove air traffic controllers from airports in the region and to have a remote tower based in an industrial estate in Inverness still has the full support of the Scottish Government and the Transport Minister, Graeme Dey.
A motion adopted by the Scottish Greens at their party conference over the weekend stated:
“Locally based approaches to Air Traffic Control in the Highlands and Islands, as valued by local communities, Islands Councils, employees and Trade Unions will be supported. Alternative centralised approaches such as a move to remote control through Air Traffic Management Systems will be opposed.”
The motion which was agreed to by 82% of Conference delegates was successfully proposed by Orkney Scottish Greens Councillor, Steve Sankey.
Commenting after the Conference Cllr Sankey said:
“I took the opportunity at our digital conference on Sunday 10 October 2021 to formalise the situation and was supported by my colleagues Councillor Roddy Mackay from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and Debra Nicolson, Co-Convenor of the Shetland Greens, to give a resolute all islands’ view.
“I understand that negotiations are currently continuing between HIAL and Prospect the Union regarding HIAL’s proposals. I sincerely hope that good sense prevails and that matters are brought to a satisfactory solution, with air traffic control remaining in the islands.
“Neither the Transport Minister, Graeme Dey MSP, nor the Chief Executive of HIAL, Inglis Lyon, have been listening to the chorus of opposition against these proposals, and I’ve seldom seen such united views from employees, trades unions, political parties, Islands Councils and communities. It’s time for an immediate review.”
The Scottish Green MSP who was elected in the Highlands and Islands Region is Ariane Burgess.
HIAL is a private limited company wholly owned by Scottish Government Ministers.
The Orkney News has reported extensively on this issue which the majority of people in the Highlands and Islands deeply oppose.