Scalloway fish market plans to face final hurdle

THREE projects including a £5.6 million upgrade to the Scalloway fish market have been rubber-stamped by Shetland Islands Council’s policy and resources committee.

New recycling facilities and wind turbines at two North Isles ferry terminals were also approved by the committee on Monday morning.

The three projects will now be discussed at the full council’s next meeting on 1 November before they get the green light.

The fish market plans, which had already won the support of the harbour board and development committee, would see the existing building rebuilt and extended.

Concerns were raised over the the potential for future expansion in light of increased landings, but they were factored into the full business case.

South mainland councillor George Smith said while there is “no doubt” it is a good project for the industry, he sought assurances that it was the best use of resources for Shetland in a wider sense during a time of financial restraints.

The council’s intention is to apply for funding from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for 50 per cent of the costs, but the money is not confirmed yet.

John Smith of the ports and harbours team said recent figures showed that fish landings at Scalloway for the first half of the financial year had already equalled the expected catch for the whole 12 months.

SIC chief executive Mark Boden suggested that the council needs to be “schizophrenic” about its approach to the project in that needs to look at effective financial management while also serving the public.

But he said there is not a “do nothing option” for the busy fish market as it needs to be upgraded, adding that people already rely on its income.

Councillors also backed building a new shed at Gremista in Lerwick and buying sorting equipment for when the local authority starts kerbside recycling next year.

The £750,000 plan would mean the waste would not need to be sorted on the mainland, which would save between £59,000 and £97,000 per year.

The policy and resources committee also approved plans to install 10kW turbines at the Ulsta and Hamars Ness ferry terminals in Yell and Fetlar respectively at a cost of £128,000.

Estate operations manager Carl Symons said the turbines would give electricity to the ferries when they dock overnight.