‘Grassroots’ campaign for fixed links ignored, say isles politicians

Transport Scotland has come under fresh criticism following reports it ignored grassroot campaigns for inter-island tunnels.

A freedom of information request showed Scottish ministers are pressing ahead with plans for a network of bridges and tunnels connecting islands in other parts of the country.

But Shetland’s Liberal Democrat representatives at Westminster and Holyrood have criticised the plans for failing to include Shetland in their proposals.

It comes ahead of a series of Tunnel Vision meetings which are due to be held in different island locations from today.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael said: “This is classic Transport Scotland. They have continued to ignore the live, positive and locally-driven interest in fixed links for Shetland. We have a week of local events across Shetland this week on fixed links because there is clear grassroots support for these connections.

“You get the impression that they would rather side-step local campaigns on fixed links and make their own plans in private, precisely so that we do not inconvenience them with something awkward like our own views.

“Transport Scotland officials are very welcome to join us here this week in Shetland, whenever they feel like speaking to islanders about what we actually want.”

Isles MSP, Beatrice Wishart added: “It feels very disrespectful for Transport Scotland to work away on a raft of proposals in secret, with no local input, while ignoring the entirely public campaign for fixed links here in Shetland.

“It should not take a Freedom of Information request for us to learn about their plans – or lack thereof in the case of Shetland – for fixed links.”

A Transport Scotland statement said: “In January we published the second Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2), setting out 45 recommendations for future transport investment over the next 20 years.

“One recommendation is that further consideration be given to the potential of a fixed link across the Sound of Harris and the Sound of Barra in the Western Isles, as well as a link between Mull and Scottish mainland.

“We are also aware of recent tunnelling projects in the Faroes and the impact that projects of this type can have on communities that they connect.

“STPR2 recommends that further work is undertaken on business cases for these proposed links to better understand the benefits, costs and challenges associated. The studies would take into account the role of existing ferry services and involve input from communities that may potentially be affected.”


Add Your Comment
  • Ali Inkster

    • August 15th, 2022 16:39

    Why bother providing fixed links to islands they are doing everything in their power to de-populate?


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