Tunnel to Fetlar appears in SIC’s £500m fixed links estimate

A council report on fixed links has estimated the cost of building five tunnels – including to Fetlar – at around £500 million.

The Shetland Inter-Island Transport Connectivity report sets out the processes, timescales and resources required in delivering fixed links and ferries.

It covers the four tunnels usually discussed in the debate – to Unst, Yell, Whalsay and Bressay. And, for the first time, it also mentions a possible tunnel between Yell and Fetlar.

It says the total cost “could be in excess of £500m at 2022 prices”.

The report also highlights the cost of ferry operations – estimated at £23m for the coming financial year.

Although the Scottish government has agreed to fully fund ferry services next year, the report says there is uncertainty around the ongoing revenue support.

In addition to the annual running costs, it highlights the capital investment needed for replacement ferries and infrastructure – estimated at around £120-150m.

The report asks councillors to authorise a project team to be set up to develop an “inter-island transport connectivity network” business case.

The cost, which includes surveys, reports and procurement of services such as project management, is estimated at up to £700,000.

The report will be discussed by the SIC’s environment and transport committee on Tuesday.

It had originally been scheduled to be heard in private as it contained exempt information.

However, the report was reworked so that it could be heard in public.


Add Your Comment
  • Jim Brown

    • March 10th, 2023 13:35

    “The report asks councillors to authorise a project team to be set up to develop an “inter-island transport connectivity network” business case.”

    Business case? That’s absurd: an island like Fetlar with what 60 residents or so will _never_ make a business case. Any business (that is, financial) analysis will conclude that such an island should be closed down and the residents (human and ovine alike) be brought to other, more financially viable, islands. Sure, folk may _choose_ to live on Fetlar but why should others subsidise that whim?

    It may be possible to make a case on some other grounds, but a purely business case will never fly.

  • Mr ian Tinkler

    • March 10th, 2023 19:23

    To Fetlar? You have forgotten Papa Stour and Foula. I hope this was a joke, not the usual idiots in action.

  • John Tulloch

    • March 11th, 2023 10:51

    Personally, I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss Fetlar’s tunnel proposal. The population was once 860, before the Clearances, and the soil is reportedly very fertile, earning it the title, “The Garden of Shetland”.. It’s clearly not a priority however, given that twice the cost of the entire tunnels project is being spent on the biggest and whitest of all possible elephants – VE/grid link – I don’t see why a fixed road link to Fetlar shouldn’t be, at least, properly explored and evaluated. You can knock off the capital and running costs of the existing ferry system, for starters, and submarine power and communications cables re-routed through a tunnel could greatly reduce costs, improve service and last as long as the tunnel, effectively, forever.


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