GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Saturday 18 May 2024
 8.3°C   WSW Light Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Scott says council should explore finance for fixed links

Shetland MSP Tavish Scott

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has said the council should look at ways to finance fixed links, as the Scottish Government is unlikely to pay for tunnels.

In the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday Scott asked finance minister Kate Forbes whether there were restrictions on local authorities using “bond finance” to pay for projects, including inter island tunnels, which could work out cheaper than ferries in the long run.

Forbes said it was up to local authorities to decide how they want to borrow as long as it is affordable and sustainable. She said that bond finance had “great potential”, highlighting its use to build the £400m conference centre in Aberdeen and that this should be explored further.

Scott said that central government should fund the capital costs of bridges or tunnels to link Shetland’s larger islands to Shetland mainland, but that was not going to “happen anytime soon”.

He added: “I believe that we should explore all possible ways to move forwards on fixed links.

“That has to be the future for Shetland’s outer island populations and economies. Unst and Yell both need better connections not least to support seafood industry exports. People and product need better links.

“The sooner a new way forward for funding with fixed links is worked out, the better for the long term sustainability of the islands economy. Waiting for monies for ferries from government is not proving a successful strategy as the government has not responded to the facts and figures supplied by the SIC.”

On Tuesday, SIC transport committee chairman Ryan Thomson said he was “bitterly disappointed” Scottish Government pledges on “fair ferry funding” had fallen through when the government’s ferry settlement of £5.2m fell short of what was needed by £2.7m.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Transport and islands minister Paul Wheelhouse said earlier this week that the Scottish Government was committed to fair funding of ferries and that the government would also be looking at the possibility of directly running the inter island service.

Scott, who visited Faroe recently, said that Shetland should copy its northern neighbour by building a tunnel network.

The Shetland Charitable Trust, which has a fund similar in size the council’s usable reserves, could also pay for such a project, according to Scott.

Faroe’s tunnel network was paid for in part by the Danish government and in part by other financial measures.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.