Shetland’s MSP has voiced opposition to new marine designations on the coastline around the isles that could prevent development and jobs.
Tavish Scott urged the Scottish government not to impose the plans in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday, insisting the exercise amounted to “top-down bureaucracy driven by the Scottish government”.
It follows concerns from companies in the Bluemull Sound area that Holyrood is seeking to designate huge sections of the coastline as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Mr Scott says there has, so far, been no consultation with people in the isles, community councils or even the SIC.
“At the very best, marine designations bring bureaucracy. At the worst they stop developments and stifle local jobs. This area of Shetland has mussel farming, salmon farming, shell fishermen and white fish boats. There are also exciting plans for the trailing of tidal generators utilising the power of the sea.
“Yet despite all this economic activity, the Scottish government has not consulted with any local people about their plans. It is as usual a top-down, Edinburgh-knows-best approach.
“The minister in this week’s debate accepted that economic factors can be recognised in the designation decision by government. But before that the process only accepts science. So Shetland faces yet another exercise in top down bureaucracy driven by the Scottish government. I want to make sure that any assessment of the Bluemull Sound area must include what economic activity takes place and could take place. I will be taking that argument back to the Scottish government.”