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OIC ‘not consulted’ on ScotGov lockdown survey

OIC leader James Stockan.

Orkney Islands Council (OIC) leader James Stockan has confirmed OIC were “not consulted” on the islands survey recently published by the Scottish Government, that asked islanders on how they wanted lockdown restrictions to be eased.

Councillor Stockan said: “The national consultation and survey happened very quickly, and local authorities were unaware of this happening, and not consulted on the two options presented, until we were advised by members of our community.

“When we became aware of it, we were keen to encourage those who had received it to respond by the deadline.”

The survey asked if islanders wished to either remain in Level Three — which would allow for travel to the Scottish mainland — or to drop into lower a Level without the ability to travel. A third option of “other” was also presented.

This differed with the view of OIC, who on the same day called on the government to drop Orkney into its lowest possible level, as well as scrapping travel restrictions.

Councillor Stockan said: “Decisions as to how best that can happen for Orkney are made as a collective.

“The position we arrived at as a council was also taken after lengthy discussions with the two island leaders of Shetland and the Western Isles, and we all came to the same conclusion.

“However, there are now two options on the table from Scottish Government and no matter which is chosen as the preferred way forward, it will not suit everyone.

“This leaves councillors with a difficult challenge ahead, but as a council, we are continuing to press for pre-travel testing before anyone arrives in Orkney, with more than one option in discussion.

The survey’s two-day deadline was also met with several complaints online.

See the full story in this week’s The Orcadian.