Shetland’s transport partnership ZetTrans could benefit financially by joining the Northern Periphery Programme, an EU-backed group of sparsely populated regions.
The other four main partners so far are: the Regional Council of North Karelia in Finland (lead partner); the County Council of Vasternorrland in Sweden; the Development Centre of East Iceland; and the South West of Scotland Transport Partnership (SWESTrans).
Monday’s ZetTrans meeting heard that the programme, which runs initially from Setember this year until the end of 2012, has the potential to bring in 60 per cent of the cost of public transport projects.
SIC head of transport Michael Craigie said: “They came looking for us rather than us going looking for them. We’ve had one meeting so far and it showed that groups were striving to find solutions to different problems, coastal and remote island communities as well as mainland communities.”
The programme was endorsed by councillor Frank Robertson and chairman Allan Wishart, who said: “I think it’s something we should be in. It could be a source of funding in the long term.”
“That’s the beauty of it,” Mr Craigie said. “It has the opportunity of funding attached to it. Money for things we intend to do anyway.”
Councillor Caroline Miller suggested it would be an idea to discuss the problems of high fuel costs with the new group and she was backed by fellow members.