Dear Orkney News,
With the election now approaching rapidly, and all candidates declared, it’s worth reflecting on what the priorities and strategy should be for Orkney Islands Council in the administration ahead.
There’s an array of national issues that should be reflected locally, none more so than the climate crisis and biodiversity emergency, both of which being subjects that OIC ought to play a pivotal role in as a major stakeholder, in association with our local communities and partners. Then there’s the housing supply shortage, with labour and other capacity issues affecting a suite of services including our wider inability to recruit and retain professionals. This is particularly acute at present within health and care, and education. In addition, ferry replacements and Barrier upgrades are two good examples that have been serious casualties of institutional inertia and which require immediate attention and investment.
I’d suggest that what voters should be looking for in their prospective Councillors is an aptitude for strategic thinking, and an ability to liaise with communities and partners, in order to actually progress some island issues that have simply stalled in the last administration. Unfortunately, a perfect storm of factors hasn’t helped, including COVID, a very poor relationship with the Scottish Government, and an inability to agree a route through the porridge of independent Councillors.
Island priorities aren’t very difficult to identify – we want to retain and grow our population with sustainable jobs, making sure that islanders have warm and comfortable homes within thriving communities where people can move around and communicate easily. We’re a million miles away from this at present, and in my view it’s imperative that the new suite of Councillors have the competencies to progress this agenda, and quickly.
Happily, this is a Green agenda too, and we need to move steadily towards net-zero in Orkney by 2030, because we can, if we simply have the will to move to a just transition by using our renewable energy opportunities as the obvious way to underpin Orkney’s economy. I’d like to encourage voters to think of these opportunities ahead and put their trust in one of five Green candidates in five Wards in the election ahead.
The detail of the Orkney Greens Manifesto may easily be found on social media, or by contacting me on the email address below.
Yours sincerely, Councillor Steve Sankey, Orkney Greens Co-Convenor
The elections to Orkney Islands Council take place on Thursday 5th of May. The candidates are as follows:
The Green Manifesto can be downloaded here: