THE SHETLAND Islands is looking at moves to breakaway from Scotland, it has emerged.

The islands council has agreed to explore options for achieving “financial and political self-determination” after a motion was approved by elected members.

The Herald: Camley's Cartoon: Shetland explores options for autonomy.Camley's Cartoon: Shetland explores options for autonomy.

The vast majority of Shetland’s 22 councillors showed their support for the motion during a meeting of the full council.

It is the latest, most significant development over disquiet among islands over the direction of the nation.

Three years ago Orkney looked into whether it can loosen ties with Scotland and the UK or become independent in the wake of Brexit it has emerged.

Thirteen councillors making up the majority of the 21 elected representatives of the island's only local authority forced an investigation into whether greater autonomy or self-determination would benefit the group of 70 islands at a time of constitutional uncertainty within the UK and in Europe.

The examination is being made in the context of what it is described as future national or international constitutional changes.

READ MORE: Orkney examines post-Brexit independence possibility

In the EU referendum Orkney was the first Scottish area to declare and with a turnout of 68.4 percent Remain won with 63 percent to Leave’s 37 percent.

Now Shetland has decided to do the same.

The motion read: “We believe that Shetland has the wherewithal to have a positive future.

“However, in recent times we have seen more and more decision making being centralised and public funding being consistently reduced.

“We are concerned that this ongoing situation is seriously threatening the prosperity, and even basic sustainability, of Shetland as a community.

“In order to look at alternatives to ensure Shetland can reach and maintain its full potential, we, the undersigned, move that: The Shetland Islands Council formally begins exploring options for achieving financial and political self-determination.”

The Shetlands were the only part of Britain, along with the Western Isles of Scotland, that voted against EEC membership in a 1975 referendum.

In the final tense days of the 2014 independence referendum, the local MP Alistair Carmichael, who was minister for Scotland at the time, said the islands could try to remain part of Britain if the rest of Scotland left.

In the end, 55% of Scots voted to stay in Britain. The unionist vote in the Shetlands was 63.7% - one of the highest levels in Scotland.

Scotland has around 60% of the EU's oil reserves and the second-largest volume of proven natural gas reserves, most of it located around Shetland.

As the First Minister revealed a second referendum would be "highly likely" following Britain's decision to unshackle itself from EU, islanders have become discontent, with the political movement Wir Shetland gathering momentum.

Five years ago, a group of campaigners from Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles failed in a bid to Scottish Parliament for a referendum that could grant them independence from Scotland on the grounds that they were all historically part of Norway.

Before the Scottish Independence referendum a petition collected some 1,177 in support of their proposal. But it was rejected by MSPs and the petition was closed.

And in 2012, MSPs for Orkney and Shetland made a submission to the Government’s consultation on the independence referendum warning the islands could opt to remain part of the UK even if the rest of Scotland votes to separate.

Alternatively, the submission said, its residents may choose to join a separate Scotland in return for a much larger share of oil and gas revenues from their waters or even declare independence themselves.

An opt-out clause was negotiated in the failed Scottish devolution referendum of 1979, which the islanders opposed.