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Letter from the Chairs of Unst, Yell and Whalsay Tunnel Action Groups to Shetland Times

Dear Editor

While we welcome the ongoing coverage in your newspaper of the potential construction of inter-island tunnels, we would stress that the focus of the Unst, Yell and Whalsay Tunnel Action Groups is most definitely not on which tunnel might come first – the subject of your recent poll – but is very much on bringing together all the necessary studies (socio-economic, geo-technical, etc) in order that we can present a robust case for capital funding. The poll is, by your own admission, merely a snapshot of public opinion. It is not scientific, it won’t represent all sections of the community, and it won’t form any basis for local or national government decisions.

More important, we believe, is the message that the development of permanent fixed links between islands and the Shetland Mainland is absolutely crucial. This is about so much more than providing transport links: it opens up the potential to revolutionise social and economic opportunity not only within these communities but also for Shetland as a whole. For proof of this, we need look no further than our Scandinavian neighbours.

Like other nations, we believe that the arrival of the first tunnel will prove the concept and others will follow. So rather than concern ourselves with which tunnel comes first, we are set on researching and delivering the detailed analysis which will be required if such major capital projects are to be achieved.

The sooner we can take the initial steps to making the first tunnel a reality the better for the whole of Shetland. Our call now is for Shetland to demonstrate how we, as a community, can work together to make it happen.

Duncan Gray, Alice Mathewson, Alec Priest – Chairs Unst Tunnel Action Group
Graham Hughson. Steven Henderson, Mark MacBeath – Chairs Yell Tunnel Action Group
Peter John Irvine, Edwin Irvine, Laura Tulloch – Chairs Whalsay Tunnel Action Group