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Transport / ‘I lost the will to live’: transport report fails to impress community councillors

The Bressay ferry. Photo: SIC

A DRAFT ‘case for change’ report into transport in Shetland has been described by one Lerwick Community Council member as “just awful”.

Another community councillor, Stewart Hay, said he “lost the will to live” while reading its 214 pages.

The report in question was a regional transport strategy draft case for change report compiled by consultants Stantec for local partnership ZetTrans.

The lengthy document says a refreshed regional transport strategy for Shetland will “set the strategic framework for the development of transport, both within Shetland and to/from the Scottish mainland over the next 20 years”.

The development of the regional transport strategy comes in three stages, with the ‘case for change’ setting out the transport problems in Shetland and established a set of strategy of objectives.

The stage after that is an options appraisal which would help to resolve the problems identified.

The final part of the progress is bringing everything together in a final regional transport strategy.

Feedback on the draft case for change report can be submitted through an online survey, which is open until Monday 2 May.

But the report failed to impress members of Lerwick Community Council when they discussed the document at a meeting on Monday night.

Gary Robinson said “to me it was just a terrible document” – and questioned if the consultants were being paid by column inch, such was its length.

He felt it was framed in a negative way when it came to solutions to transport problems.

Robinson also questioned the level of community engagement the report will have.

“If ever there was a document that needed an executive summary, this is the one,” he added.

Meanwhile Hay said he felt the report did not draw together the key points.

He described it as an “ultimately pointless read”.

Responding to the criticism Stantec director Scott Leitham said it was no surprise community councillors felt the focus of the ‘Case for Change’ report was on the negatives.

The purpose of this stage is to achieve a consensus on the range of problems and issues that the RTS [Regional Transport Strategy] itself will address, as expressed through the RTS objectives,” he said.

“Given this, it is inevitable that the focus is on problems rather than solutions at this stage.”

The consultant added: “The next step in the process is to appraise options which will provide solutions to these problems, and this in turn forms the basis of the RTS itself which will be published for consultation later this year.”

People can read the document and complete the online survey through this link.

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