The leader of Shetland Islands Council has formally written to the UK and Scottish Government to explore options for achieving 'self-determination'.

Steven Coutts wrote that current arrangements "undermine the prosperous and fair future for Shetland residents we want to see".

The letter follows an 18-2 vote earlier this month on a motion calling for the exploration of options to achieve “financial and political self-determination”.

Mr Coutts wrote that the council will conduct "extensive research" into potential future models - and is requesting a meeting with government ministers to discuss this.

The correspondence, seen by The Herald, reads: “The strength of feeling demonstrated by the vote highlights that the status quo is not tenable. The current arrangements undermine the prosperous and fair future for Shetland residents we want to see.

“Shetland is proud of our past and continuing wider contribution to Scotland and the UK, through its strategic location and natural resources.

"As we look forward in the areas of energy, fisheries and vertical satellite launch we can continue to provide that role.

"However, we need recognition that additional fiscal and political powers at a Shetland level are essential to maximising these opportunities and achieving the thriving island community we aspire to.

“The Council intends to conduct extensive research into the most attractive future model and would formally request a meeting with you and relevant senior ministers to discuss options in early course."