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Transport / SNP members back call for action on island transport connectivity

The Bressay ferry making a run to Lerwick earlier this year. Photo: John Bateson

MEMBERS of the SNP have backed the idea of creating a new Scottish Parliament committee focused on rural and island transport.

A resolution on transport connectivity in rural and island areas was passed unanimously recently at the SNP conference in Aberdeen.

The resolution noted the challenges faced by these communities in transport, and proposed a regional forum with neighbouring countries such as Faroe, Norway, Ireland and Wales to share ideas and best practices.

During the conference Robert Leslie, who is standing for the SNP in Northern Isles in the next general election, highlighted the push for tunnels in Shetland.

The resolution also welcomed the proposed delivery of an islands connectivity plan.

It also calls on the Scottish Government to publish a series of short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives to improve rural and island transport connections.

The resolution then supported the creation of a parliament committee to oversee this progress.

Another part of the resolution is to consult with councils and devolve further powers to enable them to oversee the development of existing and new transport routes, including tunnels.

It comes as Shetland Islands Council (SIC) leaders return to the isles following a meeting with the UK Government’s Scottish Secretary Alister Jack – with tunnels a key topic on the agenda.

SIC holds ‘positive’ meeting with Scottish secretary – but leader keen to see action

One of those at the meeting was the SIC’s environment and transport chair Moraig Lyall.

The councillor said: “It’s good that these issues are firmly on the agenda across the political landscape and there seems to be a recognition that they require more focus and, critically, more action.

“Maintaining and improving vital inter island connectivity is going to take the combined effort and resources of central and local government and we are putting both into making progress with this.”

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