Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Highlands and Islands Airports (Car Parking Charges)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:24 pm on 24th February 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Stewart Stevenson Stewart Stevenson Scottish National Party 5:24 pm, 24th February 2010

I refer to Sumburgh merely because of the clear and specific difference, but the circumstances at each airport—Stornoway, Kirkwall and Sumburgh—need to be considered. I do not wish to pre-empt the outcomes.

HIAL's remit includes consideration of the social aspect. I do not encourage the board to take a decision that would make it difficult for people to travel to the airport to use air services and I am sure that the board will take tent of my saying that and of what others say.

We give HIAL substantial financial support of some £27 million. The air discount scheme, which benefits many people in Orkney and the Highlands and Islands—take-up levels are high, although they are probably lower in Caithness and Sutherland, where I would like them to rise—involves a further £6 million. Substantial support is provided.

HIAL's board has reflected on the need to consult more fully. I welcome that. Lessons can be learned from the initial consultation. Such decisions are not abstract—they touch on the lives of people in our islands, so it is proper that they should involve consultative committees.

Of course, the board has a wider fiduciary duty to support economic and social aims for the Highlands and Islands. It would have to ameliorate any potential impact of introducing charges and to ensure that it can explain the policies that it implements.

I assure Mary Scanlon that the planning processes for Dalcross station are proceeding apace.

The debate has been useful. I wait with interest to see what HIAL takes out of the consultations that it is undertaking. I hope that it will listen carefully to the input from the debate and from elsewhere. Ultimately, it is for HIAL to take decisions, but I am sure that it will take notice of what is said elsewhere.

Meeting closed at 17:34.