I’m standing for the Council elections because I want to make a difference in the community.
The SIC needs a change of faces, of outlooks and of attitudes. With 11 former Councillors standing down this year, this is inevitable.
What the voters of Shetland must do is select a new Council that will listen to their concerns, not ignore or overlook them; represent their constituents, not their personal interests; and make decisions based on how things will play out in the long run, not in the short term.
I want to spend my life in Shetland, and I want to be a part of things here. I think I could best serve this community by being a Councillor, and will do my best to represent the people of my ward, and of Shetland in general.
I feel that the Council has stopped listening to the people of Shetland, and I want to change that. I want to engage with the people in my ward and find out what they want from a Councillor; I want to work for the community, with the community.
My full manifesto is on my website at AlexWrightShetland.com. However, I’d like to write about some of the policies I feel strongly about.
North Ness fuel depot
One of the most shocking things I have seen is the lack of movement by the SIC and GB Oils on the dangerous North Ness Fuel Depot, which I would like to see moved out of Lerwick.
After the 2005 Buncefield disaster, where a fuel depot exploded and the fumes from the resulting fire caused the evacuation of hundreds of homes, the closing of over 70 schools and the temporary relocation of thousands of people, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency inspected ‘Buncefield-type’ fuel depots in Scotland, among them the GB Oils depot at the North Ness. The report highlighted many regulations not being met and various areas where the depot was unsafe.
Given the damage dealt by the Buncefield incident, which badly damaged buildings five miles away, it is obvious that should a similar incident occur in Lerwick, the results would be catastrophic.
The North Ness depot is in the heart of Lerwick, while Buncefield was, thankfully, a safe distance from any built-up areas. While this danger has been somewhat forgotten about recently, the fact remains that a time bomb is in the middle of our town. I want to see the North Ness depot moved out of town to a safer location, and in doing so brought up to the highest safety standards.
I feel that the best way to solve the fuel price problem is for the Council to purchase the fuel distribution service and run it in-house. While it is understandable that transporting fuel up to Shetland costs money, it does not justify the high prices that we have to pay, far above those on the Mainland.
The Tagon Shop in Voe, which has recently been selling petrol at near-cost price, has shown that even when making a profit of one penny per litre, up to five pence can be dropped from the price per litre. Should the Council be running the service, it would not need to make profits to stay running.
Importing and distributing fuel at near-cost price would drastically reduce the prices on Shetland, both to the consumer and to the Council, which is itself the biggest consumer of fuel. Cheaper Council fuel would allow the ferries to operate move efficiently, and provide a better argument for keeping the Bressay Ferry.
I do not agree in any way with the marginalisation of our older generation through policies such as the closing of the Freefield Centre and the distribution of frozen Meals on Wheels.
For some, the Freefield lunches are both a social event and the only good meal they get a day. Deprive them of this and the toll social isolation and lack of decent food takes will be great. Social care and the NHS will be left to deal with the resulting problems, costing the community far more financially than the £80,000 running costs per year.
It costs approximately £1000 per week to keep someone in a care home- if even a few wind up falling foul of the decreased living standards associated with loneliness and not eating properly, it soon will become clear that Freefield and the hot Meal on Wheels saves the SIC money.
I hope you visit my website and look into my policies further, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
Phone 01595 692005 (after 6pm)
Please, on May 3rd, go to the polling station and vote Alex Wright.