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Voluntary sector raises airport car parking concerns

VAS chairwoman Marilyn Stewart.

THE VOLUNTARY sector in Shetland has added its voice to the growing number of organisations expressing their opposition to the planned introduction of airport car parking charges at Sumburgh airport.

Highlands and Islands Airport Limited (HIAL) has now started installing barriers and ticketing machines at Sumburgh airport.

Umbrella organisation Voluntary Action Shetland, which represents at least 20 local voluntary organisations, said it “strongly objected” to the £3 a day charge describing it as “yet another burden on third sector organisations”.

The organisation, based at Lerwick’s Market House, also said that HIAL had failed to properly engage with the organisation’s concerns.

VAS chairwoman Marilyn Stewart said HIAL’s approach was unfair and was against all government initiatives of empowering communities.

“The response we have received from HIAL was a generic letter which could have been sent to anyone as it did not respond to any of the points raised,” she said.

“The reply further increases suspicion that HIAL are not listening to views being raised around this issue.

“Perhaps they should be looking to make better use of the large airport building as a way of increasing revenue, such as having a conference centre and office space, as much of it is unused, instead of penalising Shetland travellers.”

HIAL management is due to meet with representatives from Shetland Islands Council on 20 June to further discuss the hugely controversial issue.