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Election / Election news round-up

An archive photo of ballot papers being counted. Photo: SIC

SHETLAND South candidate Stewart Douglas has called for an urgent ‘COBRA’ style meeting to address the energy and cost of living crisis affecting the isles.

He said the meeting needs to be called by the newly elected council as soon as is legally possible.

Independent candidate Douglas said the meeting could consist of councillors, SIC officers Hjaltland Housing Association, relevant experts from within the council and volunteer experts from the private sector, and related external agencies.

“The energy and cost of living crisis is so serious that it needs to be addressed now – many people are no longer able to pay their energy bills and many local businesses are finding that it’s no longer commercially viable to continue trading,” he said.

INDEPENDENT candidate Ian Tinkler believes the recent overturning of a council planning committee decision following an appeal shows the need for autonomy for Shetland.

Last week the developer of the Viking Energy wind was successful in appealing a decision from councillors last year to go against advice and reject a planning application to change the location of two concrete batching plants.

The decision was made by the Scottish Government’s planning appeals department.

“There is more disruption and unhappiness for those who find their lives blighted by Viking Energy,” Tinkler – who is standing in Shetland West – said.

“The real victims, Shetland folk, the folk living inside this windfarm.”

He added: “Shetlanders should make their own decisions and not have them overturned by distant autocrats.”

MEANWHILE in the Shetland Central ward independent candidate Moraig Lyall says it is “time to see some progress” on making roads in the Whiteness and Weisdale area safer.

She said prospective constituents have raised “multiple times” a long-suggested improvement to the road at Haggersta to make it safer for cyclists as well as vehicles, and “make it possible to walk safely between Kalliness and the school as well.

SHETLAND North’s Tom Morton, who was elected unopposed last week, has advocated doing more to insulate homes.

“Long-term greener solutions are essential for our energy needs, and Sullom Voe’s resources and expertise will in years to come be valuable in renewables,” he said.

“But now, right now, in the really difficult times we’re living through, we need to look at keeping people warm and fed as prices for energy and food rocket.

“Proper insulation for public housing and help for private householders to insulate is the most effective first step and one the SIC can act on, now.”

Shetland News has begun populating a special local government election page giving candidates a space to introduce themselves and their aims. While it is a work in progress, the page can be found here.

The Shetland Islands Council elections will take place on 5 May.