Plans for a new stretch of road in Tingwall will face scrutiny this week amid fears a rare type of elm tree and a unique bird species could be lost.
More than 200 people have signed a petition against the road proposed by crofter Cecil Eunson and 11 letters of objection have been lodged with the SIC’s planning department.
Mr Eunson wants to improve the existing road leading to Veensgarth to help pave the way for future housing projects.
But there are concerns the route running by Veensgarth House and nearby farm steadings could threaten the Wych Elms – a native woodland tree found mainly in northern areas of Britain.
One objector says many Wych Elms in other parts of the country have been lost to Dutch Elm disease.
Rosemary Macklin says the Veensgarth trees deserve the protection of a preservation order. She says their ongoing survival is probably down to their remote location.
In a letter of objection she states: “The road has served its purpose well and destroying a good arable field, some native trees and the habitat of a rare species does not justify altering it.”
There is also concern removing two sections of stone wall to help make the road could threaten the habitat of the Shetland wren – as the name suggests a species unique to the isles. The dyke forms part of the original boundary wall of Veensgarth Farm.
The plans have also opened up an old chestnut concerning the use of good arable land for infrastructure development.
One of the objectors is Veensgarth resident Joyce Pole, who has previously championed the need to preserve good ground in the area.
Planners have received one letter in support of the application, however, which points to improved visibility and enhanced safety – particularly as there are houses with children on both sides.
Despite the objections planning officials have recommended the new road goes ahead, with conditions.
A hearing will take place at the town hall on Wednesday.