Councillors back new harbour budget

Councillors on the SIC’s harbour board have backed a new budget for 2017/18 which would mean a near £6 million extra of harbour funds.

The budget and list of charges for the council operated ports and harbours was put before members this morning. It will go before the full council to approve next week.

According to a report from finance chief Jonathan Belford there was also a predicted rental income of £550,000 from the Shetland Gas Plant, as only base rent is expected.

Total income for operations in the next financial year is expected to be about £22.5 million, with about £16.65 million in expenditure.

The budget is based on fewer tankers than the previous year coming through Sullom Voe.

While there is no increase in tanker charges for 2017/18, there are other changes.

These include “a general uplift” of 2.5 per cent on all other charges across the council, moving with inflation as well as:

• A 72 per cent cut in the berthing charge per gross tonne for cruise ships 50p to 14p to encourage more vessels.

• A daily charge for large vessels using berthing space but not contributing any income to the harbour.

Other charges remain under consideration including:

• A new charge for non-declaration of landings.

• A new charge for fresh shellfish offering a reduced rated to vessels who give information or authority to access landing records.

North Mainland councillor Alastair Cooper said he had been in talks with members of the fishing industry this week. In December shell fishermen were denied access to Toft Pier after it was deemed unsafe.

The SIC’s director of infrastructure services Maggie Sandison also said only a fraction of the landings dues that should have been paid had been declared, and it had hindered the council from putting together a business case for repairing or finding another solution to replace the structure.

Today Mr Cooper said he was confident of finding a way forward between the fishing industry and the SIC when it came to dues and there needed to be a simpler way of addressing shellfish payments.

Mrs Sandison said new charges could be added in following talks and a report with proposals from the industry could be brought before members in March.

“I’m happy to move on the basis that we get resolution from the shellfish industry in March,” Mr Cooper said.



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