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Letters / Creative thinking required

Whilst Shetland’s fishermen have made us aware that the rising cost of fuel imperils the viability of the fishing industry, and therefore Shetland’s economy, consider the following: the glossy brochure produced recently by SSE Renewables, Viking Energy and Scottish and Southern – wind farms and turbines – is good and interesting stuff.

However no mention of fishing – it not being directly relevant to onshore activities but important when considering the wider subject of renewables as it affects Shetland which brings me to impart: a recent edition of the Glasgow Herald includes a page praising off-shore wind farm turbines.

The newspaper also contained a 122 page glossy brochure “Business HQ The Herald” having between pages 77/98 a section entitled “Climate for Change” – net zero emissions ambitions etc. Good stuff again, but noted by absence – any mention of fishing.

Within it Orsted, Scottish Power, Shell, Crown Estate and Strathclyde University did a fair job promoting themselves and wind farms – massive floaters in particular.

Their submissions concentrated on the ScotWind auction but didn’t mention Shetland or fishing.

However to be fair, on a separate page Orion (in very small print at the bottom to a SIC/email contact) mentioned; clean energy, transforming Shetland into a leading clean energy island, harvesting offshore wind, delivering clean energy for Scotland and Europe, creating new jobs, electrifying oil and gas. Nothing about fishing.

Indeed nothing about the fishing restrictions from Caithness to Berwickshire, the results and consequences of ScotWind round one.

The Scotwind NE1 area just outside the 12 mile limit off Bressay received no bids, but offers for it and other Shetland areas can be expected in the July round fast approaching.

These scenarios indicate a disregard for Shetland’s fishing industry’s legitimate concerns by de facto exclusion from wind farm areas plus extremely large seabed anchorage coverage, and protect power lines to ashore.

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Are Shetland’s modern efficient fishing fleets (pelagic demersal and inshore) and industries, providing food for all, considered expendable by avaricious politicians seeking additional revenue by “issuing” ill thought out wind licences to fill coffers (which I have previously argued should lie entirely within the UKs jurisdiction).

The UK Government should step in to regulate, control and support Shetland’s burgeoning businesses – all offshore developments, wind farms, spaceport, fishing activities – and safeguard Shetland’s historic rights.

Incoming councillors may care to consider their predecessors’ vote to pursue financial and political progress for the archipelago following the example of nearby neighbour Faroe, who controls its own fishing areas and having a geographical area the same as Shetland has a successful fishing industry supporting a population of 52,000 v Shetlands 23,000.

Perhaps time now for the UK Government to counteract any negative interference from elsewhere.

With all fuels including diesel becoming increasingly expensive, in future fishing vessels might consider engines running on ammonia, derived via offshore wind farms/electricity/H2/NH3 produced at Sullom, or perhaps from an electrolyser connected to the North Yell turbines Cullivoe.

Some creative thinking required by all.

Cecil Robertson

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