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Marine / SIC seeks contractor for Fair Isle harbour work despite ferry funding bid setback

Fair Isle ferry the Good Shepherd, which is 31 years old and will soon need replacing.
Fair Isle ferry the Good Shepherd.

THE COUNCIL is pressing ahead with tendering for ground investigation work for possible improvements to the Fair Isle and Grutness terminals to facilitate a new ferry.

This is despite an initial £25 million funding bid for a new Fair Isle ferry and the associated harbour works being turned down by the UK Government.

But Shetland Islands Council was encouraged to apply again to further rounds of the government’s new £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund.

The work being tendered for includes terrestrial and marine boreholes and obtaining samples.

The Fair Isle ferry travels to Grutness at the tip of the south mainland. Photo: Shetland News

An anticipated timeline sees work likely to start in Fair Isle in February before running through to August.

A spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council clarified it is “progressing work on tendering for ground investigations so that when funding is secured, we are ready to progress with work in a timescale that aligns with the seasonal nature of carrying out marine works in Shetland.”

The value of the ground investigation contract is £620,000 excluding VAT.

The funding bid to the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund centred on replacing the ageing Good Shepherd IV with a bespoke ro-ro vessel, as well as implementing harbour works in both Fair Isle and at Grutness in the south mainland.

The new vessel, which would be larger and faster than the current one and continue to have a 12 passenger capacity, is estimated to cost £4.8 million, while harbour infrastructure work is valued at just over £20 million.

Linkspans would be installed at North Haven in Fair Isle and at Grutness, where the ferry usually stops off. The project would also include quay extensions at both.