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Marine / Potential redevelopment of Scalloway Harbour on the cards

The first phase of work would focus on the west pier, which is nearing the end of its lifespan

EARLY work has been carried out to establish options for the possible redevelopment of Scalloway Harbour.

At this stage the Shetland Islands Council project is focusing on the west pier, which has deteriorated in condition and is nearing the end of its life.

Among the options are a new quay on the west side of the harbour, with indicative costs estimated at £8.5 million, and a quay extension (£7.5 million).

No decisions have yet been made, and the next stage is for the options on the west pier to be considered in more detail.

Members of the council’s harbour board discussed the project at a meeting on Wednesday, with members happy to see the process progress.

Local councillor Davie Sandison said he was “delighted” to see progress on the topic and suggested the strong fishing and aquaculture interests at the harbour made for a robust case for change.

“I have no doubt at all that the fishing industry and the aquaculture industry have got ability to grow, and grow in Shetland, and that usually, but not always, means bigger vessels, bigger port infrastructure requirement,” he said.

Scalloway’s west pier. Photo: Shetland News

While the focus is on the options to replace the west pier, work will continue at the same time on a wider strategic outline case which will examine other options for the expansion of facilities in Scalloway Harbour.

This includes the idea of a boat repair facility.

Another idea which has been floated around the wider redevelopment is including a linkspan to enable passenger and/or freight ro-ro vessels to berth.

However, speaking outside the meeting port infrastructure manager Andrew Inkster said the high level proposals need to explore all possibilities for the future, and at the moment there is no case for change when it came to a linkspan.

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“The linkspan idea would only become credible if a potential customer approached us with a proposal, and we certainly would not consider a ‘build it and they will come approach’,” he said.

“The old west pier is reaching end of life, so this presents a case for change at the moment, which the other proposals lack right now.”

Scalloway Harbour is a busy commercial port which includes the recently opened new fish market.

An average of 17 whitefish vessels land at the Scalloway fish market a week.

Activity at the market is above target; 48,161 boxes were landed in the second quarter of 2023/24, against a target of 36,000 – amounting to 2,166 tonnes.

The harbour accommodates a variety of other traffic including oil and gas/offshore services, aquaculture vessels, cargo boats, yachts and smaller leisure craft.

The harbour’s west pier, however, has been identified as a safety issue and therefore only has limited capacity – with vessels now prohibited from berthing on the outer arm.

The report added: “From an engineering perspective, the West Pier will need to be demolished at some point in the future, and given the importance of this infrastructure to harbour operations, a replacement is required to enable current operations to continue.”

It also notes that the re-development of the west pier in particular with a larger solid structure could offer increased flood protection to the Scalloway waterfront.

However, Shetland North councillor Andrea Manson stressed the case for combining the quay and quay extension options – something which may end up happening later down the line, the meeting heard.

She also said the SIC was sometimes its “own worst enemy” when setting high-cost estimates for projects.

Further evaluation of the options is now due to take place through the SIC’s asset investment group.

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