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Call to overcome ‘silo mentality’

LERWICK Community Council has called on Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL), Shetland Islands Council and other public bodies to work together to find an amenable solution to the controversial introduction of car parking charges at Sumburgh Airport.

The issue was again raised during Monday night’s meeting, when community councillor Karen Fraser suggested that Loganair should organise a communal taxi service when the last flight was arriving late, while Stuart Hay praised the integrated public transport service he had experienced on the Swedish island of Gotland.

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Chairman Jim Anderson said it was “ludicrous” that HIAL decided to waive car park charges for registered vehicles from Shetland’s outer isles while those living in the remoter parts of the north and west mainland still had to pay £3 a day.

He said it was high time to overcome the “silo mentality” while keeping in mind that well over half of the revenue likely to be raised by HIAL, which is also introducing charges at Kirkwall and Stornoway, would come from Shetland.

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“The bottom line is that it is all public money. You’ve got the Scottish Government, HIAL, ZetTrans, the SIC and so on and so forth,” Anderson said.

“Rather than the silo mentality in these bodies all sitting pointing the fingers at each other, they should work together collaboratively and, yes, introduce car parking charges but it should be across the board including at mainland airports in Wick and Campbeltown.

“A simple count of car parking spaces at Sumburgh, Kirkwall and Stornoway will show you that well in excess of half of any revenue is going to come from Sumburgh when we only got one boat service a day.

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“Orkney has got up to a dozen in the summer and I am not sure how many the Western Isles have got, but certainly more than one.

“We are furthest away and we are ending up paying because more folk are reliant on that service. It is just unfair, there is no parity across the board, and I think if there would be a little more of evening out and everybody pulling together, then I think we could get a dedicated bus service, or dial a bus.

“I want folk to work together to come up with a solution for everybody. HIAL may get some more money in, and folk could go on holiday without too much of a financial burden.”

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