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Bressay brig dispute costs SIC £4.8m

BRITAIN’S most northerly industrial port has settled out of court with the local authority after losing almost £6 million on a dredging project it was forced to abandon.

In August 2005 Shetland Islands Council used emergency powers to take out an interim interdict to stop Lerwick Port Authority dredging the north mouth of the harbour, on grounds it would be fatal to their plans to build a £23 million bridge to Bressay.

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More than a year later Lord Reed found the council had no right to stop the dredging, since when the port has been trying to get back the £5.85 million it lost as a result of the legal move.

On Tuesday the port agreed to accept a £4.8 million payment, negating the need for the two sides to go to the Court of Session as planned in October.

Port chief executive Sandra Laurenson said that it was worth settling for less than the full claim to avoid the reputational damage a battle in court would have cost.

SIC chief executive Alistair Buchan said a legal fight could have cost the council around £8 million and he was pleased with the outcome of recent negotiations.

The settlement comes at an embarrassing time for the council, which is cutting its spending by £33 million over two years to balance its books. Islanders have been told up to 600 private and public sector jobs could go along with cut backs in front line services.

Please read also:

Bressay brig saga to end ‘out of court’ (16 Feb 2012)

Shouldn’t they resign (Letter, 21 Feb 2012)

No one to blame… (Letter 22 Feb 2012)

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