Wed 15 Feb, 2017

First published in October 2016:

The Highlands and Islands Green Party confirmed last week that two prospective candidates in Orkney will be striving to green-up Orkney Islands Council in next May’s local authority elections.

They are Steve Sankey of Gerraquoy Organic Farm in Grimness, South Ronaldsay, who will stand in the East Mainland, Burray and South Ronaldsay Ward; and Helen Woodsford-Dean of Harray, who is set to stand in the West Mainland Ward. Both prospective candidates happen to be self-employed local tour guides, emphasising the importance of the tourism industry to the Orcadian economy.

The prospective candidates will be standing under the Scottish Green Party banner and not as Independent prospective candidates.

Steve Sankey said “We thought that it was important to stand as official Greens, since anyone can test our credentials by looking on the internet to access Scottish Green Party policies. Of course we will be campaigning strongly on local issues, and you don’t have to look very far to see how poorly green issues fare with the current composition of Independent Councillors. For example, an obvious issue that springs easily to mind is fuel poverty, and our inability to marry Orkney’s surplus renewable energy to where it’s most needed into individual households that are suffering the worst fuel poverty in Scotland. The formation of a local Renewable Power Company is such an obvious step to help resolve this that it speaks volumes for the class of 2012 that it hasn’t happened. It’s time for change.”

Helen Woodsford-Dean added “Rural transport – or the lack of it – is also a huge priority for us. Where are the services to fill the black holes with no public transport in both West Mainland and the South Parish of South Ronaldsay? And where is the investment in electric buses to help use our surplus renewable energy to follow the airport pilot?

The Orkney Greens are anxious to hear from Orcadians in both Wards about issues that are of concern to residents, and will be holding surgeries closer to the election in order to better understand local concerns. Steve added “We’ve long been concerned about the secrecy of decision-making within Orkney Islands Council, and the lack of transparency about decisions. We’d especially like to hear from local people about exactly what they’re really worried about, and why some issues take forever to resolve. I don’t dare mention the Barriers…”

The elections for Orkney Islands Council take place on Thursday 4 May next year.

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