First Minister announces £12m agreement as he arrives in Shetland


First Minister Alex Salmond has announced funding for repair works to Sumburgh Airport’s runway that will bring the lifeline connection for the islands back up to standard.

Announcing the agreement for the main contact – worth up to £12 million – to repair the runway to go ahead, the First Minister said that this commitment will ensure that quick progress can be made.

He said:

“The runway at Sumburgh is a gateway to Shetland and the residents rely on the air connection for both personal and economic reasons. It is essential that another bad winter does not result in the runway deteriorating any further and that this lifeline connection is maintained.

“The Scottish Government aims to work with HIAL and Shetland Islands Council to ensure that the works can be completed on time without disruption to services. During 2014, Shetland will focus prominently in Scotland’s Year of Homecoming and it is essential that everything is done to afford the welcome our visitors deserve.

“This announcement demonstrates that the Scottish Government is delivering on a national and local level for communities in every corner of Scotland.

“Our summer cabinet programme will show that communities across the country contribute in different, but equally important ways, to Scotland and that each is treasured by the country as a whole, bound together by a set of shared values and a common economic aim.

“Throughout the programme, we will demonstrate that, from the very tip of Shetland to the Borders town of Hawick, each unique community has its part to play and its own stake in the future of Scotland.”

The east runway at Sumburgh Airport has suffered extensive damage caused by extreme weather over recent years and part of it has collapsed into the sea. It is planned that works will begin over the summer to ensure they are completed before winter sets in.

The announcement is the first in a number being made during the Shetland visit as part of the highly successful summer cabinet programme which is now in its seventh year and will be touring to Hawick, Campbeltown and Fraserburgh next month. Ministers are meeting in the four locations before taking part in a range of activities, visits and open question and answer sessions with members of the public.

Over the past six years, summer cabinets have been held in all corners of the country in locations as diverse as Orkney, Kilmarnock, Pitlochry and Stranraer, giving hundreds of Scots direct access to the First Minister and his cabinet.