Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Treasury needs to pay for vital infrastructure projects

I was very interested to hear what Mr Carmichael, the MP, had to say during an interview on Good Evening Shetland, as one of his comments included the word “respect”, a poignant reminder of the lack of it shown by UK Government/s towards Shetland.

His recent speech in the House of Commons also highlighted the difficulties faced by Shetland’s fishing industry, and this illustrates the lack of “respect” by all authorities over many decades.

To set the context, one only has to refer to what the Duke of Rothesay said during his recent visit: “It still remains to me anyway an amazing statistic to know that more fish pass through Shetland than England, NI, and Wales put together, I suspect that many don’t realise that”.

This local fishing industry of international importance requires the concerted and dedicated effort of men and modern fishing vessels, such as those owned by Whalsay men who have been waiting since 1960 for a safe harbour at Symbister owned by the SIC.

Do they or the folk in Westminster know that several large vessels when not fishing, have to remain berthed at Lerwick many miles away as there are no safe berths at their home port where the entrance should be improved?

The lack of facilities in Whalsay has also prevented fish processing industries moving there which denies the locals the opportunity to work within their own community (depopulation perhaps).

Furthermore, the matter of fixed links to replace all the islands’ aging ferry fleet with the bonus of removing CO2 from the atmosphere is of immediate concern.

A serious proposal was presented to the SIC by Norwegian tunnelling experts but was rejected by officials based on flawed assumptions.

Fixed links are also needed to connect the other islands and support the SaxaVord Space Centre and the wind farms in Yell. In the future a base in Baltasound may be needed to service offshore wind farms.

I understand that Mr Carmichael together with the MSP plan to hold meetings with fishermen and local people to address these issues and Shetland’s entire population should fully support them to bring these matters to a positive conclusion.

Shetlanders look longingly at the new tunnels recently completed in Faroe and Norway and wonder that if the infrastructure required is not provided forthwith what is the point of remaining subjugated to the parsimony of all UK governments who can at the touch of a Treasury button provide funds for all types of infrastructure elsewhere, but so far none to support Shetland which will continue to provide fish to HRH and the UK population, notwithstanding the billions accumulated to the Treasury from Sullom Voe activity.

The MP and MSP should now extract direct from the Treasury the finance and wherewithal needed, because it is unlikely to come from Edinburgh who have already cut back on the yearly grant to Shetland to suit their own ends.

Cecil Robertson
Inverness