Cutting the high cost of fuel in Shetland is the number one priority of Liberal Democrat election candidate Tavish Scott, he said today.
“Shetland must get European agreement to the five pence per litre cut on fuel prices to reduce the difference between the islands and the Scottish mainland price,” he insisted.
“We need that quickly and we need more. The UK government’s decision to drop the five pence per litre rise in fuel duty planned by Labour helps. As does the further cut in duty in the budget. But a new Scottish government must throw its weight behind the islands’ fuel derogation and to push for it to be extended.
“I also want the new government to back the call I made for the Office of Fair Trading to investigate once again the huge differential in fuel costs between Shetland and Aberdeen. This has increased over the years and cannot possibly be justified.”
Mr Scott said his party supported rural filling stations, including the adoption of 24-hour card payment systems.
“But we have to recognise that worldwide market forces, beyond the control of any government, are going to continue to force the cost of fuel up and so we need to try to reduce our dependence on it. Better local bus and taxi services aimed at helping people get to work can all help. But for many across Shetland no there is no real alternative to the car.
“New electric and low carbon cars can also help, with Unst already taking a lead in the development of hydrogen powered alternatives. The public sector in Shetland can lead in purchasing low carbon vehicles.”
Meanwhile independent candidate Billy Fox highlighted a report by the Renewable Energy Foundation which revealed that the operators of six windfarms in Scotland were paid almost £900,000 to shut down turbines between 5th and 6th April.
The payments made were up to 20 times the value of the electricity that would have been produced if the turbines had been kept online.
Mr Fox said: “What is needed, as we strive to put future energy solutions in place, is more joined up thinking and less irresponsible grandstanding rhetoric from our politicians. We are heading towards an environmental and economic disaster, not to mention energy security, if we do not get this right.”
Meanwhile, the council is reminding voters that polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday although late voters should arrive well before 10pm.
All voters should have received a polling card, but if anyone hasn’t, they should call (01595) 744554. Polling station staff will hand out ballot papers for the Scottish parliamentary election and the UK-wide referendum on the voting system.
Postal votes must be returned to the Returning Officer by 10pm on Thursday.