Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has today moved to assure crofters and farmers that shepherds will be permitted to travel to Shetland for seasonal work, following concerns surrounding isles travel restrictions.
Last week, the Scottish Government introduced restrictions on ferries, meaning travel will only be permitted for “those who live on our islands, who have an essential need to travel to or from the mainland and for essential supplies or business.”
Following correspondence from constituents concerned about the impact of travel restrictions on workers travelling to Shetland by ferry for the lambing season, Ms Wishart contacted Northlink Ferries for clarification on the matter.
Ms Wishart was told that agricultural workers were specifically considered by the Scottish Government in discussions regarding travel restrictions and that travel to Shetland will be permitted provided workers can evidence their need to travel.
Commenting, Ms Wishart said:
“Lambing is a busy time of year for crofters and farmers and one that can be impossible without seasonal workers. I am pleased that this island issue has been considered by the Scottish Government and travel will be permitted for these essential workers. It is crucial that the basic needs of animals are well met and that this important aspect of the local economy can continue to operate where it is safe to do so.
“Crofters and farmers are to be thanked for their hard work keeping food supply chains open at this difficult time during the coronavirus pandemic. Government must do all it can to support them too.”