Letters / How I’d respond as a councillor

As a private individual with a strong sense of social and environmental justice, I have been role playing at being an elected member of the SIC. In this role I discussed the growing demands of some sections of the general public  for the SIC to declare a Climate Emergency.  This is the Press Release I would put out had I been an SIC elected member.


Shetland Islands Council (SIC) recognise the climate crisis and the demands on us to declare a climate emergency. Regrettably we have neither the legal jurisdiction or finances to implement anything that folk would recognise as a measure to address even a tiny part of this situation.

As local authorities, we are starved of sufficient funds to properly deliver our obligation of statutory local authority services, as it is.  We are entirely in the hands of the UK and Scottish Governments who would need to provide leadership, significant changes in the law and the finances to allow us to start work on lowering our carbon footprint, at a level that would start to address climate change.

Legally and financially both hands are tied behind our backs so until the UK & Scottish Governments bring in the required measures and the funding to act, most regrettably and despite our heart felt desire, there is little or nothing we can do about it.

In addition, our (SIC) long term (2050) commitment to supporting Sullom Voe and the oil & gas industry in general, will on its own, make it almost impossible to declare a Climate Emergency or enact any meaningful de-carbonising measures.

Vic Thomas