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Election / Lyall to seek re-election in Shetland Central

Shetland Central councillor Moraig Lyall. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND Central councillor Moraig Lyall has confirmed she will be seeking re-election at the upcoming local authority elections in May.

Tingwall resident Lyall, who entered local politics following the ward’s by-election in November 2019, said she felt it would be “a shame to waste everything” she had learned in the past couple of years.

She follows incumbent councillors Davie Sandison and Ian Scott in confirming her candidacy. Also in the running is the Greens’ Martin Randall in a ward that is expanding from three seats to four.

Lyall said it was “almost impossible to narrow down” which issues to highlight as priorities for the council as “everywhere you look, there are challenges”.

Having set out a staunchly anti-Viking Energy stall she said it was “very easy to get pigeonholed as a councillor”. Her personal view remains that industrial windfarms “are about to blight our islands” and are “an inefficient way of producing unreliable energy far from where it is required”, but “there are many other issues I care about”.

Two years on from being elected she feels she has “served my apprenticeship and am better equipped to serve the area”. Having pursued issues for local residents she is “more convinced than ever that for many people the little things are the big things” and “can have a considerable impact on people’s day to day lives”.

In her campaign flyer she highlights the importance of the rocketing cost of living, describing it as “shameful” that a quarter of council houses don’t currently meet national standards: “Fixing them up with quality windows and doors, and improved heating systems and insulation, will cut the amount of electricity needed to keep them warm.”

She said the SIC was operating with “significant vacancies across the services we provide” and that was affecting its ability to deliver those services.

Lyall said that to provide future employment “we must see life beyond Sullom Voe, industrial wind farms and the planned energy hub”.

Rather than pursue an energy-based future she wants to see “a more balanced economy blending traditional fishing, agriculture, and creative businesses with tourism, community scale renewables and new enterprises”.

Tackling carbon emissions will be a “major challenge”, and she pinpoints the need for fixed links to replace ferries: “During the 2017 election the ageing ferry fleet was described as a ticking timebomb and it’s now five years closer to exploding.”