Gove discusses transport with island communities while Scottish Government avoids the issue

30 June 2021

Michael Gove, the UK government’s Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, has met with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES), the Western Isles council to discuss transport connectivity.

The meeting was to discuss transport connectivity in the islands, and included discussion about ferries, as well as about the Highlands and Islands Airports Limited plan to centralise air traffic control services in Inverness.

HIAL’s plan would have a sever economic impact on remote communities, removing high value jobs from the local economy. Despite the possible impact, the Scottish Government is refusing to meet CnES on the issue.

David Avery, Prospect negotiator, said:

“Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd (HIAL) is going to remove high value, highly skilled technical jobs from remote communities if it allowed to centralise air traffic control in Inverness. This will have a severe economic impact on local communities.

“It says a lot about the Scottish Government’s lack of willingness to engage with communities that a Conservative Westminster cabinet member has met CnES to discuss the issue while the Scottish Government refuses to do so.

“If ministers were serious about standing up for western isles [Highlands and Islands if for more general release] they would meet the local council, take onboard their concerns, and end HIAL’s wrong-headed and damaging plan for remote towers.”


Prospect has members working in aviation, road, rail and maritime transportation, as well as regulation and research.