Also in the news / Fair ferry funding request, library funding, free public transport to vaccination clinics

Inter-island ferry Geira berthing at Gutcher earlier this year. Photo: Shetland News

SHETLAND Islands Council (SIC) has submitted a request for just under £11 million to Scottish Government to for the cost of the local inter-island ferry service in the 2022/23 financial year.

Following years of campaigning by both Northern Isles local authorities, Scottish finance secretary Kate Forbes made a commitment to fair ferry funding in her 2021/22 budget when she approved £10.8 million for the SIC to cover the cost of running inter-island ferries.


In previous years the council had no choice but to accept significantly lower settlements.

The 2022 budget is expected to be announced next month.

Following a request from the Scottish Government for details of capital estimates covering five years from 2022/23 to 2026/27, the SIC also submitted an amount of £93.75 million for capital works in relation to the ferry service.

TWO community libraries based at the junior high schools in Yell and Unst have received funding of just under £5,000 to purchase tablets, laptops and wireless printers to help public access to the internet.


The grant of £4,867 comes from the £1.25 million Scottish Government public library Covid relief fund.

The government said the funding allocation would help the two communities furthest from Lerwick where people cannot easily travel for internet access.

Culture minister Jenny Gilruth said: “Libraries are so much more than a place to borrow books. This fund will see the provision of community-centred projects aimed at, among other things, reducing social isolation, promoting mental wellbeing and reducing the poverty-related attainment gap.

ANYONE attending appointments for Covid-19 booster vaccinations in the coming months will be able to travel free on public buses and inter-island ferries, the council has confirmed.

Free travel will also be extended to any accompanying escorts, and travel on inter-island ferries will also include free passage for any cars.

Travellers should state their journey purpose to the bus driver or ferry crew when boarding the bus or ferry.

On inter-island ferries, ferry crew will record passengers names but this will not be necessary on buses, the council said.

These arrangements will continue as long as the vaccination programme is in place, subject to any changes that may be required.