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Election / General election campaign round-up 4 June

Shane Painter.

THE CONSERVATIVE candidate for Orkney and Shetland in the general election has shown his support for subsea tunnels in Shetland.

Shane Painter said while they would require significant financial investment, the “long-term benefits will far outweigh the costs”.

Tunnels to islands such as Yell, Unst and Whalsay have been mooted in recent years, with the council supportive of the idea.

“By securing this critical infrastructure, we will provide our residents, particularly those in the northern isles, with the assurance that they can go about their daily lives without the fear of ferry cancellations or disruptions,” Painter said. He added that tunnels would need the support of both the UK and Scottish governments. Painter also highlighted the cost of maintaining Shetland Islands Council’s ageing ferry fleet.


Green candidate Alex Armitage (right) with striking Worley workers outside Sullom Voe Terminal Tuesday morning.

THE SHETLAND Greens branch has backed workers who were striking at Sullom Voe Terminal this morning (Tuesday).

Riggers, pipefitters and electricians employed by Worley services, an Australian engineering company, are engaged in industrial action over concerns about pay and conditions.

Green parliamentary candidate for Orkney and Shetland Alex Armitage joined striking workers at the picket line outside Sullom Voe Terminal.

He said: “Wealthy companies like Worley extract profit from potentially dangerous work that these folk undertake on a daily basis.

“All of us benefit from the labour of these key workers. We all need energy; right now that’s largely in oil and gas. For the sake of our future, we need to accelerate the transition to renewable energy. Renewables have a huge future in Shetland; it’s vital that workers and unions are at the centre of this transition.”

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Rod Read, energy spokesperson for the Shetland Greens, said, “Workers’ demands in safety critical energy infrastructure need to be taken seriously. These workers are voicing their concerns for everybody’s wellbeing.”


Reform Party candidate Robert Smith.

REFORM candidate Robert Smith has said he can see “no benefit” in engaging with the election process other than being a name on the ballot paper “for those who share my horror at the activities of our political class”.

Writing in an election statement due to be published on Shetland News next week alongside pieces from every other candidate, the Orcadian said: “I fear I won’t have the strength to remain civil – but feel free to vote for me if you want to register your disgust at the present farce”.

He took aim at net zero policy – saying there is “propaganda” at play – as well as criticising globalisation and the levels of national debt.


SNP candidate Robert Leslie.

SNP candidate Robert Leslie has pledged to hold energy companies to account over how they will replace electricity meters that are due to become redundant next June.

He said this comes after UK energy regulator Ofgem “refused to share the plans that they received from the companies”.

Leslie asked Ofgem to release the detailed plans that it had requested from suppliers on how they would be carrying out the replacement of an estimated 900,000 Radio Teleswitch meters across the UK, of which there are hundreds across Orkney and Shetland.

However, in response Ofgem has said it cannot provide the detailed plans for suppliers regarding the switch-off, as it has to “abide by prescribed policy on what we can share at the present time”.

Leslie commented: “The rate of replacement needs to be increased significantly, and I would suggest a targeted approach in Orkney and Shetland would be the way to progress this project more effectively, rather than rely on customers to get in touch and book replacements.”


Other candidates who have publicly confirmed their intention to stand in the election are in alphabetical order: Alistair Carmichael (Liberal Democrats) and Conor Savage (Labour). 

Candidates have until 4pm on Friday (7 June) to submit their nomination papers to council offices in Kirkwall.

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