Shetland’s MSP Beatrice Wishart, took part in a debate on local representation for transport bodies working on behalf of the Scottish Government. Ms Wishart supported the call for reserved seats for island residents on CalMac Ferries Ltd and Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL), and criticised the lack of local representation on Highland and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) boards.
The debate brought to the Parliament called for reserved seats for island residents on certain transport boards. Such a change could empower local decision-making and help make better decisions.
Ms Wishart has raised opposition to HIAL remote tower proposals, which would move highly skilled jobs away from island communities and centralise operations in Inverness. Ms Wishart raised the proposed move in a member’s business debate in January 2020 and has continued to raise it in the Parliament.
Ms Wishart said:
“I am pleased that this issue was raised in Parliament. Local communities should be empowered in the decision-making processes that matter to them.
“It is important that the services working for rural and island communities includes representation by those they serve. Without understanding the socio-economic complexities of those communities decisions will not fill local needs.
“I have long opposed HIAL centralisation. I would hope that dedicated local representation on the HIAL board would have stopped proposals reaching the stage they are at now.”
Notes to Editors
Ms Wishart’s remarks will be available here.
Some of Ms Wishart’s opposition can be found here.
You can see Ms Wishart’s debate here.