Island links

The Faroe Islands, with a population of 50,000, have fixed links, including undersea tunnels, connecting most of their islands. Iceland, population 300,000, has also built various tunnels in recent years, with more planned. Needless to say, Norway has hundreds of tunnels, including over 30 undersea tunnels.

In the 1940s, the Churchill Barriers were built connecting the Orkney mainland to South Ronaldsay and Burray.

If we could join islands to each other 70 years ago why can we not do similar today? Given the length of some of the undersea tunnels in Norway and the Faroes, real ambition would have politicians and engineers investigating the possibility of connecting Orkney to the Scottish mainland.

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On the Western seaboard, if Mull was part of Norway or the Faroes it would, no doubt, already have a fixed link connecting it to the mainland. The same would probably be true of Bute, Arran and others. Coll and Tiree would no doubt be joined to each other and you would be able to drive from Barra to the Butt of Lewis without needing to worry about ferry times.

Improving transport links to and between our various islands could transform these communities and would also send out a strong signal that the Scottish Parliament is there to serve all the people of Scotland, irrespective of how distant they are from the Central Belt.

If the Faroes, Iceland and Norway can use modern engineering to overcome geographical obstacles to transport why can’t we?

George Shanks

Orwell Place