Development committee lay out ambitious plans

Everything from student housing to high speed broadband connections were set out as goals for the next three years during this afternoon’s development committee meeting.

Broad and ambitious, the 2021-2024 plan, presented by Neil Grant, director of development services, also set out aims for job creation, sustainable and affordable internal and external transport links and creating a fairer Shetland with emphasis on reducing fuel poverty and food bank reliance.

The plan, however, is in its aborning stages and its scope will likely be narrowed when business plans and financial constraints are looked at in more detail.

Also among the three items discussed during the public part of the meeting was the Shetland economic accounts report for 2017/18, presented by Tommy Coutts, executive manager with the economic development service.

The report looked at the accounts for the isles in terms of its total economic output, itemised by employment sector. Of the £1.265 billion of output, aquaculture contributed £244 million or 19.7 per cent. Fish processing was second on the list generating £125 million.

The figures will act as a useful pre-Covid benchmark as the isle’s industries begin to increase activities as Covid restrictions ease. The report also calculated the average household income for the isles to be £41,322.

Four other items were on the agenda but discussed in private. They were Shetland Islands Regional Marine Plan – maintenance and development 2021/22; support for inshore fisheries management, SSQC Ltd  funding, and the delivery mechanism for promoting Shetland 2022-2027 – business justification case.

A full report of the meeting will appear in this week’s Shetland Times, out on Friday.


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