Island Renewables : Comhairle Calls for Cross Party Support

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has called for cross party support ahead of a Westminster debate on island renewables taking place on Tuesday 4 July.

Councillor Donald Crichton, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee, has welcomed the debate and said it was important that the Government clarified its position and implemented its manifesto commitment regarding island renewables.

Mr Crichton said: "I welcome this debate secured by Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael MP. I also welcome that Labour's Ian Murray MP has tabled a question pressing Secretary of State Greg Clark MP to make a statement on the Conservative Party's manifesto commitment to remote island wind.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has been a long-term supporter of the establishment of a renewable energy industry in the Outer Hebrides. It has been hugely frustrating that we have been unable to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the development of the sector. The recent work by the Scottish Islands Renewables Delivery Forum, allied to the clear commitment signalled in the recent Conservative Party Manifesto, however, opens the prospect for significant progress over the next 12 months.

It will be essential that the Conservative Party Manifesto commitment now translates into policy action and that the Government rapidly announces that the Scottish Islands can participate in the next Contracts for Difference Auction Allocation Round. I have recently written to the Secretary of State making that point and I hope all the participants in the Westminster Hall debate focus their effort on persuading the Government on that issue.

I believe there is a cross-party consensus in Scotland around that issue and I hope, as an outcome of the debate, that all parties come together to persuade the Secretary of State to come to an early and positive policy decision in regard to island participation in the next Auction Allocation Round.