Tavish Scott takes Sumburgh parking row to Holyrood

The row over plans to introduce £3 a day car parking charges at Sumburgh Airport reached the Scottish parliament yesterday.

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott secured a members’ debate and put the case against parking fees before MSPs, including transport minister Humza Yousaf.

Instead of the charge, which he dubbed a “tax on island life”, Mr Scott suggested that Sumburgh Airport should change its heating system to save money.

The isles MSP was speaking yesterday in Holyrood as this newspaper went to press. He argued that Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) would save thousands of pounds by converting to renewable energy.

Tavish Scott. Photo: Dave Donaldson

But before he set out his money-saving idea the MSP had strong words for Hial and the SNP government which owns the airport operator. He argued that outwith Sumburgh Hial had “no idea or simply do not care where the rest of Shetland is”.

Mr Scott added: “Hial claim to have financial pressures. That would mean a thorough assessment of how to save money.

“But Hial have not published any savings options. Did the board consider any options before making this decision on 6th February?

“Hial will tax island life by £3 a day. That will be their tax, and that of the SNP, if this is allowed to happen.

“Have Hial consulted on this? No. The First Minister said that was remiss. I urge the government to turn remiss into something stronger.”

If the charges are introduced Mr Scott argued it would hit hard-working families adding £42 to the cost of a fortnight away.

“It will not hit local government staff, health board staff or others such as MSPs who can claim travel costs. That is just one public purse replenishing another. A fact the finance secretary may want to consider.

“No, this will hit real people hardest. Families, business people, voluntary sector representatives. This is why it is so wrong.”

Mr Scott’s speech comes weeks after Hial interim chairwoman Lorna Jack insisted plans to charge drivers £3 per day to park at Sumburgh Airport would go ahead. The policy is due to be introduced this summer.

Hial has argued that it was having to introduce the charge because it had been ordered to cut costs.

For the full version of this story and more on the Sumburgh car parking row, see tomorrow’s print edition of The Shetland Times.



Add Your Comment
  • George Dickson

    • May 11th, 2018 8:37

    I wonder if Mr Scott has compared the coming costs of parking with any other airports. Inverness, £11. Edinburgh, £50. Heathrow, £100 – or possibly more, yet Tavish Scott whinges about £3.00. Yet again, he shows how little he’s worth.

    • Johan Adamson

      • May 11th, 2018 14:41

      In London, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness etc there are public transport options and they are not rural

    • fcluness

      • May 11th, 2018 15:08

      All these airports have another, or a number of ways to get there, do you know the cost of a taxi to Sumburgh from Lerwick, never mind further from Sumburgh. your airports are all closer to the places they provide cover for too. We have one bus service that comes and goes regardless if the flights are late or not so the chance of getting stranded could be high. I think if it had been a £1 a day then they could have slipped it through but adding £40? onto a fortnights holiday when the cost of travel could be up to 4x higher than the airports you list. Example is flight Sumburgh to Glasgow I’ve paid up to £300, I’ve also paid £50 to get from Glasgow to London.

    • Scott Nicolson

      • May 11th, 2018 15:27

      Not the point George, we already pay well over the odds to get off the island as it is.
      Its an issue that affects everyone on the island, this is why he was elected…

      • Bill Adams

        • May 14th, 2018 11:02

        It is not an issue that affects EVERYONE in Shetland.
        Not everyone in Shetland has a car or access to a car.
        We others are reliant on the public transport alternative –
        namely the No. 6 bus service – to get to & from Sumburgh.
        It is only an issue for those who prefer the comfort and
        convenience of using their own car rather than the bus.

    • John N Hunter

      • May 11th, 2018 16:16

      Those airports have regular bus services, unlike Sumburgh, where I have sat for hours waiting on a bus as the timetable does not coincide with flights.

  • John Tulloch

    • May 15th, 2018 10:04

    From a previous report: “Its (HIAL) managing director Inglis Lyon has previously defended the decision, insisting it is needed to cover the cost of improvements made at Shetland’s main airport.”

    One wonders how on earth HIAL managed a “sustainable” operation before the 17.9 percent increase in passenger numbers at Sumburgh and their overall increase of 7.4 percent?


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