Shetland Transport Strategy 2022-2042 Development

Shetland’s Transport Strategy requires full revision to take account of significant new environmental, societal and economic challenges, and strategic and technological developments.

Shetland Transport Strategy 2022-2042 Development

ZetTrans is producing a new Regional Transport Strategy (RTS) and has appointed Stantec UK Ltd to support in this work.

Information on the development of the RTS, including the approach being taken and how to input into the process is provided below. This section will be continually updated as the Strategy develops.


Under the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005 it is the duty of each Transport Partnership to draw up a strategy for transport within its region. The current ZetTrans RTS was first published in 2008 and was refreshed in 2017-18 to cover the period 2018-28. Given the evolving policy environment, including the publication of the new National Transport Strategy (NTS2), and wider societal changes, there is now a need to produce a new RTS.

The new Strategy will set the strategic framework for the development of transport, both within Shetland and to / from the Scottish Mainland over the next 20-year period with the aim of delivering a transport system that reduces inequalities, takes climate action, helps deliver inclusive economic growth and improves the health and wellbeing of Shetland.

The issues which the RTS will consider are wide-ranging and will take into account the situation now and how this is likely to evolve in the future. Consideration will be given to:

  • the changing socio-economic and demographic profile of Shetland
  • future developments in the transport industry and their potential impact in the Shetland context, including the development of alternative fuels, automation, and shared mobility
  • response to Climate Change
  • current and potential future changes in travel patterns due to changes in the workplace and the way we shop – trends which may be accelerated by COVID-19
  • transport inequalities which exist due to differing levels of access to opportunities and services both across Shetland and amongst different groups within Shetland society
  • internal connectivity between Shetland’s island communities and the Shetland mainland
  • the future development of the active travel, bus, internal air and ferry and road network in Shetland
  • external connectivity via both the air and ferry network
  • transport integration, including the potential for integrated ticketing
  • the overall cost of travel.


The new ZetTrans RTS will be developed in line with the principles of the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) and will involve three broad phases:

Stage 1: Initial Appraisal: The Case for Change – this will set out:

  • Analysis of the transport problems, issues, constraints, and opportunities in Shetland and external connections
  • Establishment of a Vision and Transport Planning Objectives (TPOs) which reflect the above problems
  • Development of a long-list of transport options which can be taken forward to the Preliminary Appraisal

Stage 2: Preliminary Appraisal – an appraisal of the emerging options against the:

  • Vision and TPOs
  • Established policy directives
  • STAG Criteria (Environment, Safety, Economy, Integration and Accessibility)
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment Criteria

Stage 3: RTS Document – this will collate the outputs of the above tasks into a Strategy and an associated Delivery Plan.

In parallel with the above activities, in accordance with statutory requirements a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the new RTS will be undertaken along with a comprehensive Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA).

Public and stakeholder consultation is a key element of the work and we have developed an extensive engagement programme to reflect this. This includes the development of a public survey, and individual one-to-one and group meetings with key stakeholders, including business representatives, Elected Members, and community groups.


Strategic Environmental Assessment Scoping Report and Equalities Duties Assessment Framework Note

A SEA Scoping Report was developed and submitted to the Government Gateway for review on 03 September 2021. This is the first stage of the SEA process. The report was prepared in accordance with the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 and sets out the proposed scope, methodology, consultation arrangements and level of detail required in undertaking a proportionate and robust SEA of the emerging RTS.

Responses to the SEA Consultation have been received and the next stage of SEA reporting will be published alongside the Case for Change Report.

ZetTrans RTS SEA Scoping Report

An Equalities Duties Assessment Framing Note has also been drafted. This is the first stage of the EqIA process and sets out the framework for how relevant equalities duties will be applied at each stage of the RTS development process.

ZetTrans RTS Equalities Impact Assessment Framing Note

Public Survey

To help shape the strategy two Public Surveys have been produced. These are intended to gather information on the transport problems people experience when travelling i) internally within the Shetland Islands and ii) to and from the Shetland Islands.

The surveys can be accessed here