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Yell and Unst communities launch campaign to fund the first phase of exploration into the building of subsea tunnels

A major campaign to explore the potential for sub-sea tunnels connecting Yell and Unst with the Shetland mainland has been launched today (Wednesday 19 July) by the Yell and Unst Tunnel Action Groups. The groups, which have already secured more than £100,000 to kickstart the project, are looking to raise additional funds to commission geo-technical investigations as well as socio-economic and environmental impact work relating to the creation of the tunnels between Unst and Yell and between Yell and the Shetland mainand.

Yell Tunnel Action Group (YTAG) chairman, Graham Hughson said: “This project seeks to lay the foundations for the tunnel infrastructure which, if successful, will breathe new life into the island communities, support economic and social development, and deliver a reliable, sustainable transport system for residents, businesses, and visitors.

“Our first challenge is to demonstrate if this scheme is technically and economically achievable, and we are very grateful to Unst Spaceport and North Yell Development Council, each of whom have committed £50,000 to the project. This financial support is a truly positive demonstration of how the islands’ business community view the potential connection of Unst and Yell to the Shetland mainland by subsea tunnels.

“Today we are launching the campaign to add to this funding and take the critical first step in realising our vision for unrestricted travel to Yell and Unst. By creating this permanent infrastructure, we can help the islands achieve their true potential, fostering economic prosperity, improving the quality of life for islanders, and promoting a sustainable future.”

The groups view the continued reliance on ferry services as becoming increasingly unsustainable and believe that it is a serious financial commitment for businesses operating in the islands.

“Space is often restricted for both commercial and passenger traffic at peak times, services are subject to suspension for weather, technical issues or crew availability, and running costs, maintenance, and replacement of vessels comes at an increasingly high price to the public purse,” said Unst Tunnel Action Group (UTAG) chairman, Alec Priest.

“The proposed subsea tunnels will not only mitigate these challenges but also provide a reliable and efficient transport solution that ensures uninterrupted connectivity, irrespective of weather conditions. Additionally, this initiative will, in the long term, significantly reduce carbon emissions, promoting environmental sustainability and preserving the natural beauty of the islands.

“However, before we can bring this ambitious vision to life, we need the support of anyone who has an interest in the social and economic wellbeing of Shetland. We are appealing to the generosity and foresight of individuals, organisations, and businesses to donate towards the initial phase of geo-technical, socio-economic and environmental investigations. This critical step will provide invaluable data and insights as we work with Shetland Islands Council to address the future transport and development plans for Shetland.

“Donations, no matter the size, will play a vital role in advancing this groundbreaking project and will directly contribute to the essential investigations required to move forward with the development. Such support will not only help us to gather crucial information but will also demonstrate the widespread commitment to the prosperity, resilience, and environmental stewardship of our islands”.

To contribute to this essential phase of investigations and support the sub-sea tunnel projects for Unst and Yell, visit

Unst and Yell Tunnel Action Groups are very grateful to Unst Spaceport and North Yell Development Council, each of whom have committed £50,000 to the project.

Alec Priest, UTAG; Susan Williamson YTAG; Mark Macbeath, YTAG; Steven Henderson, YTAG; Elizabeth Johnson, Shetland Space Centre; Frank Strang, Shetland Space Centre.
Steven Henderson, YTAG; Andrew Nisbet, North Yell Development Council; Alec Priest, UTAG.

Join us in bringing this project to fruition by making a donation via our Crowd Funder page. Together, we can make a difference.