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Big vision for Scotland must consider isles’ position

ACCOUNT must be taken of Shetland’s industries and unique transport situation, it was noted at a meeting of transport partnership ZetTrans in response to an ambitious Scottish Government discussion paper.

Developing an Environment Strategy for Scotland sets out an overview of “one planet prosperity” which means “protecting nature and living within the Earth’s sustainable limits, while building a more prosperous, innovative and successful nation”.

The paper adds: “Driving the transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy is not only a moral responsibility, it presents strong opportunities for Scotland’s economic and social prosperity.”

ZetTrans members embraced the ideals behind the document but in their reply to Transport Scotland noted it was a “vision … so broad that it is difficult to know how best to respond.”

The “high level” and “hugely ambitious” vision could end up over-riding all sorts of measures that were being taken at local level.

ZetTrans chairman North Isles councillor Ryan Thomson expressed concern that farther down the line, sentiments would turn to targets for CO2 emissions and carbon footprint.

He warned that “our rural position within Scotland is not taken account of.”

Member and central ward councillor Davie Sandison said that he welcomed ambitious targets for Scotland, but added that Shetland’s export industries were totally reliant on a ferry service that inevitably added to that footprint

This had to be emphasised to the Scottish Government in the response.

Sandison said later: “At the moment we have, what I gather, are pretty fuel inefficient ferries, so really within this longer term set of strategic objectives it would be good to have something at high level that said we are going to set ourselves a target that we reduce the reliance on such a mode of transport; and there must be an explanation of what the alternatives would be.”

ZetTrans agreed to add the concerns expressed at the meeting to its response to the discussion paper which must be filed online by Friday.

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