24th August 2017

Air links to Unst (Joan Easten)

Unst is the most northerly island in Britain. There is an airfield in Unst which was once a very good link not only to mainland Shetland but also to Edinburgh.

Shetland Islands Council seems to justify having one if not two Brittain Norman Islanders to serve four islands with a total population of fewer than 150 people.

I do not wish to detract from the importance of these links and I am delighted that they are still in place.

The air ambulance service was also served by the Tingwall Islander and my own grand-daughter would not be with us now if it had not been for the dedication of the pilot and the Unst airport staff. She was flown straight to Aberdeen as a very premature baby and this saved her life.

Unst wants to attract people. That’s fine. If someone in Unst needs transferring to hospital in Aberdeen they have to travel overland out of Unst through Yell and then to the Mainland.

The aircraft now operating the air ambulance can be more sensitive to weather problems which might entail it landing at Sumburgh, another 30-mile journey by road. When my oldest daughter was born in 1964 I endured the same journey just to Lerwick and it was not very pleasant.

Would a feeder service to Sumburgh not make life a little more attractive to folk who wish to live in Unst? Catch earlier connections perhaps?

Perhaps this could be something to consider, not necessarily only by the incoming council but by the various agencies involved.

The waste of a potential asset in the airfield should be addressed.

There are still folk in Unst who might be interested in becoming part-time firefighters. Air traffic could be handled as the outer isles are.

The folk who are doing so much to make Unst a good place to live deserve to be considered.

Joan Easten
27 Hamarsgarth,
Mossbank.

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