Sunday 14 April 2024
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Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Letters / Who is in charge?

The mistake of building new ferries and terminals for Yell Sound at the turn of this century instead of a fixed link is now evident for all to see; it appears to have been caused by SIC officialdom presenting flawed figures to our councillors.

SIC officials had advised councillors in a report that a new ferry service in Yell Sound could be built for less than £20 million; councillors followed their officials’ advice and approved the construction of the new ferries and terminals that eventually cost over £37 million to build, as was shown in the Review of Council Spending 2003-2013, where is says at 4.12: “The most notable spending over this period was in the 2003-04 to 2005-06 period when over £37m was spent on the Yell Sound ferries project.”

As an alternative, a tunnel for Yell Sound was priced at £27million with a worst-case price of £32.5 million.

The cost of running that ferry service per annum since then has proven to be roughly ten times more expensive than the tunnelling consultants estimated annual running cost of a tunnel.

During a meeting in 2010 our councillors decided by a majority vote to progress with fixed links: “The Council commits to a programme of fixed links for Yell, Unst, Whalsay and Bressay spanning the next 20 years.” (

Now over a decade later, despite the obvious mistake on Yell Sound plus the Whalsay community sourcing three offers including funding for the construction of a fixed link to Whalsay, we still see SIC officialdom proposing ferries and terminals as their favoured option as a replacement Whalsay transport link

I thought that employees in the SIC had a duty to follow directives from our elected councillors. It would appear that within the present administration of the SIC this is not the case.

William Polson


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