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Carmichael welcomes Huhne

NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael welcomed energy and climate change secretary Chris Huhne to Shetland on Tuesday afternoon.

He pointed out that Mr Huhne is the second minister from the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to visit the northern isles in recent weeks, after energy minister Charles Hendry toured the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney last week.

During his two day visit Mr Huhne will meet representatives of the pro and anti windfarm lobbies, visit students at Brae High School and travel offshore to a Total oil platform in the North Sea.

Mr Carmichael said: “The energy debate is increasingly at the heart of UK politics and the northern isles is at the heart of that debate. It is only right that ministers should come here to see for themselves what is happening.

“The energy industry has been of growing importance to our local economy for a number of years. The recent growth we have seen locally in the renewables sector and the development of the west of Shetland gas and oil fields make it clear that this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.

‘It is vital that the problems that affect us here are on the agenda in Whitehall. There is a great deal for the secretary of state to see and learn in Shetland. This timely visit will give us the opportunity to raise some of the big issues facing the sector locally at the highest level.

‘I am also pleased that Chris has been able to find time to visit Brae High School. It is not often that students have the opportunity to meet with someone leading national policy debates on issues of this importance.

“I have always been impressed with the interest in current affairs and politics shown by our young people and I hope they will get something out of meeting a national political figure like Chris Huhne.

“I know from my casework that climate change is an issue that concerns many young people in the northern isles and I am sure that the students will make the secretary of state welcome.”