Think out of the box! (James Mackenzie)

Is there not another way of looking at savings in education other than rural school closures?

A few years ago I was made aware of the possibility of rural district heating schemes, using a combination of wind, solar and biomass energy. Aith and Mid Yell were mooted as pilot projects. Both leisure centres and schools I believe were planned to be included in these schemes, as well as domestic and business premises. Dual benefits would be considerable savings in both fuel costs and carbon emissions.

What do we have now? The dismal prospect of empty or under-used, purpose-built properties in rural areas, while we are further than ever it seems, since the 1990s, from a new Anderson High School.

We have a Renewable Energy Strategy which seems to have embraced the Viking Energy windfarm at the expense of other more innovative and decentralised initiatives, and as the answer to all our economic problems.

The recent public statements from councillors about shedding staff as if they were an inconvenience rather than an asset worries me too.

I had hoped that this new council would bring more than one fresh pair of eyes to solving our problems, that its members might think “out of the box”.

No doubt there are some doing so, but what is coming across to the public appears to be a general acceptance of “the inevitable”, when other possibilities have either been discarded or been ignored.

James Mackenzie
The Lea,


Add Your Comment
  • Johan Adamson

    • August 28th, 2012 12:56

    Yep I agree. I thought these new councillors would look at things afresh rather than just spouting forth the same bad figures from the education department and they might listen to others and come up with an informed opinion, not a fait accompli

  • Bert Morrison

    • August 28th, 2012 20:54

    Folks, this current situation has not suddenly appeared, it has been creeping up on us for years and is precisely why Shetland must be innovative, seek inward investment and make as much use of it’s natural resources and geographical location to decentalise it’s economy away from the public sector. A large yard at Dales Voe breaking up redundant oil platforms and a fixed electricity interconnector to the national grid to support a huge potential from renewable energy are quite innovative – at least as innovative as a district heating scheme which will save pennies in the grand scheme of things. ‘Thinking out of the box’ is not one sided.


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