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Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

It’s Time for a Greener, Fairer and More Democratic Orkney

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Fiona Morag Grahame the Scottish Green Party candidate in the West Mainland By Election has announced a range of measures which she believes will bring about a greener, fairer, more democratic Orkney. This week Fiona highlighted the work of Orkney’s creel fishery industry which has done so much to develop a sustainable industry.  Orkney Islands Council is currently carrying out an assessment with Highland and Islands Enterprise into chill requirements for the local fisheries. ‘I want to see the construction of a chill storage facility at Tingwall’ states Fiona. ‘This would allow bait to be stored and catches to be kept until they are uplifted by lorry. Tingwall is a fine wee harbour but would benefit from further investment in order to improve what it can offer to our creel fishing industry and to enhance the security of the site.’

Another area of concern Fiona Grahame addressed this week was fuel poverty. A person is living in fuel poverty if 10% of their household income is spent just to keep the main living room in their house at 21C. Scotland in 2013 had 39% of households living, in fuel poverty but for Orkney the figure was a shocking 58%. Fuel poverty affects a wide variety of people but those most at risk are the elderly, single parent families and those on low incomes. Older types of houses and those who use mainly oil and electric heating are also liable to be at risk of fuel poverty.

According to Orkney Renewable Energy Forum, Orkney has the highest concentration of wind and micro wind turbines in the UK which allowed it to become a net energy exporter in 2013 and 2014.  ‘We all see the windmills birling around us and that is fine for the folk that are getting some income from them’ stresses Fiona ‘but I want to see co-operatively run initiatives in wind generation and all renewables  so that profits made are shared with all those living in Orkney. This would not only reduce household and business energy bills but would be a much needed boost to the local economy.’  The islands of Westray, Eday, Hoy, Rousay, Stronsay and Shapinsay all have community owned turbines and Orkney Islands Council is the largest investor in the Hammars Hill wind farm.  All of these sites are very productive but have suffered due to the ban on new grid connections in 2012. ‘It is morally indefensible that folk in Orkney have to choose between eating and heating when we are generating so much energy within the islands,’ states Fiona.  ‘It really is time the Scottish and Westminster Governments took effective action so that Orkney can export this terrific natural resource it generates.’   The Orkney Greens will be out campaigning with Fiona throughout the West Mainland. The By election takes place on Tuesday August 18th.

Fiona Morag Grahame