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HIAL’s Remote Towers Project should be ‘steered into the scrapyard of history’

HIAL’s remote towers project came under the watchful eye of the Scottish Parliament’s Citizen Participation and Public Petitions Committee again today, 17th November 2021.

Appearing before the cross party committee to give additional evidence were Liam McArthur, LibDem Constituency MSP for Orkney and Highlands and Islands Regional MSP Labour’s Rhoda Grant.

The Petition PE1837 ‘Halt Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd’s Air Traffic Management Strategy’, is supported by politicians across all the main political parties.

The main thrust of the evidence presented today was that HIAL’s putting on hold for 5 years the ATMS timetable is a delaying tactic as they have come forward with no alternatives as yet to the remote tower scheme which will be housed in a building in Inverness. This building has already been purchased and the MSPs raised concerns over the increasing costs attached to this project.

In her extensive presentation, Rhoda Grant quoted one of the protestors to the project as saying that it should be ‘steered into the scrapyard of history,‘ and that it has been a ‘mess since conception.’

Liam McArthur agreed with everything presented by Rhoda Grant and added that ‘given the investments’ that HIAL are’ not talking about alternatives’ and the delays have meant ‘they have bought themselves some time.’

The committee have agreed to keep the petition open and to follow up on the points raised by the MSPs including contacting flight clubs which use the affected air fields.

HIAL is a private company owned wholly by Scottish Government Ministers. The HIAL Remote Towers Project continues to have the full support of the Scottish Government despite the publication of a damning Islands Impact Assessment on the scheme.

Agenda for the meeting can be found here

You can watch the evidence session here. It starts 5 minutes in:

Fiona Grahame

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