It is interesting to note that transport issues are high on the agenda with most, if not all of the election candidates, and environmental issues also appear to be important to all.
However none appear to have mentioned that Shetland Islands Council could reduce their production of carbon by 64 per cent by replacing the ferry services to Yell and Whalsay with fixed links. The ferry service proposals presently being promoted by SIC officials would cause an increase of carbon production.
Ferries running costs would also increase if the present SIC proposals are approved, from £9.2 million for the two routes in 2015/16 to probably around £12 million per annum. If we multiply that by 60 we get £720 million in running costs alone over a 60 year period.
The combined running cost for tunnels to both islands would be less than a million per annum, £60 million for 60 years.
This would appear to show that the claim in the SIITS document that the ferries options are cheaper to run over 60 years than running a tunnel for 60 years is flawed.
Whenever tunnels are mentioned we hear the mantra of up front capital costs being quoted, experience in Yell sound shows that the cost of building the ferry service around 15 years ago was higher than the cost of the proposed tunnel at that time.
The quote for a Whalsay tunnel received in 2017 by the Whalsay Community Council and passed on to the SIC and Scottish Government was for £76 million including connecting roads.
During a 60 year period the ferries would need to be replaced at 30 year periods so two at 12 million each at the beginning two at 30 years and another two at 60 years = £72 million.
New ferry terminals would also be required for Whalsay – three at the beginning £27.6 million and again at 40 years total £55.2 million? Additional costs would also be required for connecting roads, terminal buildings, terminal parking areas, etc and road upgrades to cope with an increased traffic flow at every ferry run, all of those costs appear to be excluded from the SIC officials ferries cost estimate.
The SIC proposal for Whalsay of three new terminals and two new ferries, was priced in the Faber Maunsell report with a Present Value of Costs figure of £60,821,128, over ten years ago.