Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / What’s more economic – tunnels or ferries?

I note that councillor Thomson must have accepted that I have copied the figures from the SIITS documents accurately, as he does not dispute them but says they are “historical” in nature (Cllr Thomson responds to letter from Whalsay reader; SN, 12/02/2019).

I assume that the SIITS figures I mentioned in my previous letter to the media would also be acceptable.

That letter showed the projection of the 2015/16 cost of running ferries for 60 years in Yell Sound to be £349 million more expensive than the cost of running a tunnel.

If the projected cost of running the Whalsay route is included, the combined figure for running the ferries options, would be well over half a billion pounds more expensive than running the tunnel options.

As the transport system for Whalsay, proposed and apparently favoured by the SIC council officials for the next 60 years appears to be running ferries, perhaps councillor Thomson may be encouraged to provide the comparison between running ferries and tunnels for 60 years that verifies the following statement in the SIITS report:

“A fixed link is rejected in the appraisal for the following reasons: The cost of a fixed link to Whalsay significantly exceeds the costs associated with ongoing ferry services, even when considered over two ferry replacement cycles 
[this being 60 years].”

I have requested the comparison from the SIC on numerous occasions but no one appears to be willing, or able to produce the figures; so in the absence of this comparison, the only conclusion I can make is that the above statement from the SIITS document appears to be flawed.

William Polson

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021