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Letters / Safeguarding Shetland’s rights

With regard to the ScotWind report Just Transition: A Fairer Greener Scotland, the question posed by Mr W. Polson in his
letter last week was ‘Is this a case of history repeating itself, new landowners putting profits above the rights and livelihoods of the people’?

History repeating itself?

Surely it was ever thus since 1471.

In passing I declare a historical input from my genealogy tree (but excluding Udallers going back to the time of Adam) which includes incomers such as – lairds of Symbister, evidenced by a cousin of mine who keeps a pet dog named Bruce in memory of many transgressions by lairds and others, including illegal evictions and who were assisted by subvert local/Scottish/national ‘authorities’.

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The UK Crown Estate transferred their Scottish rights to Crown Estate Scotland in 2017, but nowhere therein was a surrender,
alteration or abrogation conceded to the already established Zetland County Council Act 1974.

Therefore the latter will always take precedence over the former.

Consequently Holyrood cannot attempt to legislate, divert or circumvent away from the UK 1974 Act which would be to Shetland’s absolute disadvantage.

Ergo any lessee question pertaining to offshore Shetland inside the 12 mile line lies entirely within the jurisdiction of the SIC.

I have also argued in a previous letter that from a practical point of view this should also apply to works licences for areas extending out to and including UK territorial waters for any developments such as wind farms around Shetland.

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Shetlanders should be very aware that in the unlikely event that Scotland votes to become independent, the Scots parliament could then attempt to alter or override the 1974 Act and so by ‘steal’ Shetland’s rights.

Shetlanders, the MSP and MP should ensure inclusion of a clause in any UK Parliament referendum act to safeguard Shetland’s rights. This is of particular importance to Sullom Voe terminals and any developments connected or associated with them now and for the next several centuries.

With that in mind Shetlanders should pause and think before voting for any party advocating Scottish independence in any of the local or national elections because by doing so they will be giving up the rights bestowed to Shetland by the Zetland County Council Act 1974.

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The SIC have recently agreed the following statement: ”councillors approve delegated authority to the Chief Executive or (her) nominee to pursue the Councils and Shetland interests through engagement with other key parties in future developments, and in securing of community benefits from these in consultation with leader and chair of the development committee with any recommendations reported back to the council for consideration and decision”.

In other words, the council members are in the driving seat not the officials, as is only proper and legal. This also runs in tandem with the agreement of the council’s 18/2 vote to explore the constitutional and economic situation of the islands.

Cecil Robertson
Inverness

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