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Date set for airport car parking charges

A £3 per day car parking charge at Sumburgh Airport will be introduced on 1 December ahead of the Christmas break.

Work to install car park barriers was halted earlier this summer. Photo: Shetland News

Government owned operator Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) confirmed on Wednesday that building work to erect barriers and a pay station would re-commence on Monday.

The latest update in the long delayed project to generate additional revenue for HIAL was condemned by Shetland MSP Tavish Scott and the chairman of the SIC’s transport and environment committee Ryan Thomson.

“Happy Christmas Shetland, a lovely present from your big friend at HIAL, who care not one jot for travelling public in Shetland and are only interested in making life more difficult for us all,” Scott said.

“The Scottish Government nor HIAL have offered any help whatsoever to Shetland Islands Council in providing public transport alternatives for islanders.”

Thomson added that the fight against the charges was not over and would continue even once they had been introduced.

“I find it absolutely shocking and shambolic from the Scottish Government that they haven’t yet intervened in this. This is flying in the face of any sort of island proofing – I hope it is not a sign of things to come.

“We will certainly still try to have conversations with the government and particularly the islands minister to try and put a hold to this even after its implementation.”

HIAL announced in March this year that it planned to introduce airport car parking charges at Kirkwall, Stornoway and Sumburgh.

The move was condemned outright in Shetland where the main airport is located 25 miles south of Lerwick and public transport links are not aligned with aircraft arrival and departure times.

While those charges have been levied at Orkney and in the Western Isles since 1 July, the introduction in Shetland was delayed due to road traffic concerns.

A HIAL spokesperson said on Wednesday: “Work on the new parking system at Sumburgh airport will commence w/c 29 October and will continue throughout November.

“Car parking charges are scheduled to be introduced on 1 December 2018.

“Inconvenience to customers will be kept to a minimum and the changes will be clearly signposted. There will no charge for up to two hours for pick up and drop off.

“A full list of those passengers eligible for exemption from the charges is available via our website at www.hial.co.uk.”