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Transport / Climate emergency and coronavirus among reasons behind transport strategy refresh

The Bressay shopper bus on the Bressay ferry. Photo: SIC

A NEW regional transport strategy for Shetland is set to be developed after the existing one was deemed no longer fit for purpose.

A number of developments over the last 12 months, including the declaration of a climate emergency and the coronavirus pandemic, have prompted the refresh.

A report presented to a meeting of Shetland’s transport partnership ZetTrans on Wednesday noted that it could cost between £100,000 and £150,000 to draw up the new plan.

The current regional transport strategy for Shetland was approved in 2008 and it was last refreshed in 2018.

The new one would cover the period between 2020 and 2040.

The existing strategy features a vision for Shetland’s transport in addition to an assessment of the current situation.

It also sets out a programme of activities, and makes the case for investment and infrastructure.

Other factors which have played into the decision is the Scottish Government’s publication of a second national transport strategy, and the concept of “mobility as a service”.

Transport policy and projects officer Robina Barton told the meeting that the “uncertainty” that lingers over Brexit also played into the thinking.

Shetland Central councillor Davie Sandison questioned how fixed links would play into the strategy – particularly given the document would run through to 2040.

“It’s a long term issue,” ZetTrans lead officer Michael Craigie said. “It deserves its own feature in the strategy.”