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Business / Economic strategy approved by SIC

SHETLAND Islands Council has given the green light to implementing a refreshed economic development strategy which aims to see 250 new private sector jobs created in the isles over the next four years.

Members of the full council met on Wednesday morning to approve the strategy, which had already been given the thumbs up by the development and policy and resources committees.

The council’s development team put together the new strategy to support the isles’ economy through to 2022 – although officials admit the effect of Brexit is uncertain.

The strategy said the “challenge for Shetland Islands Council and its community planning partners is to build on the high performance of our key sectors – fisheries, oil and gas, engineering – while ensuring that the economy diversifies”.

It added that the creative sector, food and drink, new technology and developing new attractions for visitors is a key part of this.

A list of aims in the strategy also includes the supporting two new business improvement districts to launch in Shetland by 2022.

Lerwick is the isles’ only business improvement district at the moment, led by Living Lerwick.

It also wants to support the development of five new district heating schemes across the isles by 2022, as well as help the creation of a network of cultural and creative centres some of Shetland’s more rural locations.

There was also an emphasis on seeing six commercial kitchen workshops developed by 2022 to support the use of local produce.