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Views sought on local energy costs

An image of the new Rova Head power station proposed by SSE company SHEPD last year.SUPPLYING electricity to Shetland's 13,500 households and businesses at near mainland prices cost an extra £26.6 million in subsidies last financial year.

That would amount to an additional £2,000 per local electricity bill were the extra cost not spread between consumers throughout the north of Scotland.

The eye-catching figure is contained in an Ofgem consultation document that seeks views on how energy in the isles could be produced more competitively.

Black Gaet crash

NO one was injured in a two-vehicle crash at the Black Gaet, south of Lerwick, on Thursday afternoon just before 5pm.

The road is down to one lane and police officers are directing traffic.

Reduced Whalsay service after fire on Linga

Emergency services were called to Laxo on Wednesday night when the Whalsay ferry Linga had a small fire in one of her three engines while ten minutes into her scheduled crossing to Symbister.

The master of the Linga alerted Shetland Coastguard at around 10.15pm saying he was returning to Laxo after indications of a fire in the engine room.

On arrival at the ferry terminal crew members extinguished the fire with foam before local coastguard volunteers and the fire service arrived on scene.

New Holmsgarth pier to create up to 20 jobs

An artist's illustration of the planned Holmsgarth North pier - Image: LPALOCAL civil engineering firm Tulloch Developments has been appointed as the main contractor to build Lerwick Port Authority's new £16.5 million Holmsgarth North pier.

The latest expansion of Lerwick Harbour will see 800 metres of additional deep water berthing space being constructed over the next two years.

Cargo ship drifting off Fair Isle

A screen shot of the www.marinetraffic.com website showing the Myrte drifting off Fair Isle.THE Sullom Voe tug Tystie has taken the stricken cargo ship Myrte under tow but is now not expected to berth at the Greenhead Base in Lerwick before early on Thursday morning due to deteriorating weather conditions.

The Dutch registered freighter with nine crew on board was drifting 12 miles off Fair Isle after suffering engine failure following a fire in its engine room on Tuesday.

Shetland Coastguard was alerted at 5.10pm on Tuesday and has since been kept busy coordinating the rescue effort.

Investigation into St Clement’s fire

Fire fighters from Lerwick and Scalloway attending St Clement's Hall on Monday night. Photo: Austin TaylorA JOINT police and fire investigation has been launched into the cause of a fire, which damaged the disused St Clement's Hall in Lerwick on Monday night.

Police are guarding the St Olaf Street building until officers from the mainland arrive in the isles to start their inquiries.

Fire damages St Clement’s Hall

Fire fighters from Lerwick and Scalloway attending St Clement's Hall on Monday night. Photo: Austin TaylorFIRE fighters from Lerwick and Scalloway were called to a fire on the ground floor of St Clement's Hall in Lerwick's St Olaf Street, on Monday evening.

It took them more than an hour to get the fire under control.

Britain's Got Talent scouts to search isles

The judging panel on the last series of ITV's Britain's Got Talent.SCOUTS Britain’s Got Talent will take their search for fresh flair to Shetland for the first time next week ahead of the popular ITV show's ninth series in 2015.

The production team will be at Mareel’s Green Room between 10am and 2pm on Tuesday 28 October before heading to The Lounge Bar for an open mic session that evening.

Call for communities to get 3G signal

Tavish Scott: 'broadband incredibly important to people in Shetland'.SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott is calling on local communities to apply for a Vodafone programme that could bring 3G mobile broadband to a number of rural areas.

Following the successful Rural Open Sure Signal trial, which includes a pilot scheme in Walls, the communications giant is now extending the initiative to 100 communities across the UK.

Scott said the scheme did not offer a "complete solution" to the problem of patchy mobile coverage but was one step in the right direction to improve the situation for some communities.

Concern over air ambulance provision

The Bond operated Jigsaw helicopter - Photo: Kieran MurrayTHE AIR ambulance service from Shetland's more remote areas might be adversely affected by oil industry plans that could see the removal of the locally based Jigsaw search and rescue helicopter.

BP is currently reviewing its offshore SAR service, with some newspapers already reporting that the service will be axed after 2016.

Faster internet for some, but politicians want more

Launching superfast fibre with the help of Shetland’s own Hazel Tindall, the world’s fasted knitter, are (from left): HIE’s director of regional development Carroll Buxton, BT Scotland director Brendan Dick, director of Digital Highlands and Islands Stuart Robertson, the Advocate General for Scotland Lord Wallace, SIC leader Gary Robinson and Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of Next Generation Broadband – Photo: Hans J Marter/ShetNewsSUPERFAST broadband has arrived in Shetland as part of a £146 million project to get the Highlands and Islands connected.

 Up to 4,000 households and businesses in Lerwick, Quarff and Sumburgh are the first on any Scottish island to be able to access broadband speeds of up to 80mbps.

60 jobs at risk as T&N goes into administration

T&N Joinery on Wednesday afternoon - Photo: ShetNewsPROSPECTIVE buyers are being sought for a Lerwick joinery firm after it went into administration due to a lack of working capital.

T&N Joinery, which employs 60 local craftsmen, fitters and operational staff, is continuing to trade while the business is reviewed. The administrators claimed that as yet there have been no redundancies.

Brae to get another oil company hotel

OIL GIANT BP has confirmed that the company is to build a 120-bed hotel in the Brae area to accommodate new staff working at the Sullom Voe Terminal.

The company is changing its shift pattern at the terminal to an offshore style 'two weeks on/three weeks off', and is looking to recruit an additional 100 staff.

It says the change comes in response to difficulties in attracting a sufficient number of local people with the right skills to run the terminal.

Farmer dies in tragic accident

POLICE have confirmed that a well known farmer has died after a tragic accident in the south mainland of Shetland on Tuesday morning.

Bryden Budge, who ran Bigton Farm and was a director of Shetland Livestock Marketing Group, was involved in a workplace accident. 

A short police statement confirmed that the emergency services were called to the accident at Bigton at around 10am, and that the 46 year old had died as a result of his injuries.

Jan to receive animal welfare award

Jan Bevington caring for a selkie at Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary.A WILDLIFE enthusiast in Shetland is to receive a special award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) recognising her many years of dedication to rescuing and rehabilitating injured or abandoned marine creatures. 

Jan Bevington, 67, who runs the Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, has been caring for sick animals in the islands for more than 27 years. 

She rescued her first seal in May 1987 after finding it stranded on the beach in front of her house in Hillswick.

Fishing industry backs plan to allow quota banking

The Research, one of Shetland's pelagic fleet.THE LOCAL fishing industry has welcomed the EU's decision to allow part of this year's mackerel quota to be banked to help the industry mitigate the impact of the Russian ban on food imports.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins said the proposal, discussed during a meeting between Scotland’s fishing minister Richard Lochhead and outgoing EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki in Luxembourg on Monday, sounded sensible.

Report: Scalloway Harbour needs swift investment

The Bibby Challenge at Blacksness Pier in Scalloway. Councillors heard that the harbour requires investment to continue attracting business from the oil and gas industry. Photo: James NicolsonTHE COUNCIL is in the “embryonic stages” of investigating whether a brand new fish market should be built in Scalloway as it strives to ensure the village’s harbour keeps pace with industry developments.

On Wednesday the local authority’s harbour board heard from environmental consultant Julian Farrar, who had been tasked with producing a “masterplan” for Scalloway Harbour for the next 15 years. 

Popular school kitchen assistant retires

Lavinia Moncrieff 'such as big part of the school'.PUPILS, parents and staff at Sandness primary school are today (Friday) bidding a fond farewell to Lavinia Moncrieff who has been serving dinners at the tiny school for 41 years.

A very popular member of staff, she has seen two generations of Sandness pupils growing up.

Concern over nuclear waste shipments

Southend Councillor Billy Fox.A SENIOR Shetland councillor has voiced his concern over planned shipments of high-level radioactive waste from the Dounreay nuclear site to Sellafield, in Cumbria.

Speaking in the wake of the Parida marine emergency earlier this week, council deputy leader Billy Fox questioned the safety of nuclear transports by sea.

It emerged that a delegation from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) had been in Shetland last month to advise a small group of council officials of their plans.

Oil industry could be here until 2100 - consultant

The chill-down tanks at Sullom Voe. Photo courtesy of BP.THE OIL and gas industry is likely to remain in Shetland for the rest of the century, according to a consultant brought in to draw up a “masterplan” for the SIC’s harbour operation at Sullom Voe.

Julian Farrar, of environmental consultants Ironside Farrar, said he suspected the industry “will still be a significant contributor to the Shetland economy throughout the whole of this century”.

He told members of the harbour board that it was important to understand the present energy boom is “not just something that’s going to disappear in a year or two”.

Council wants Holyrood to deliver fairer ferry fares

ISLES politicians have vowed to press the Scottish Government to put in place fairer funding for inter-island ferries to reduce the financial burden on Shetland Islands Council.

The local authority currently receives around £6.5 million a year from Holyrood for ferry services, but spends £13 million a year.

Income from passenger and vehicle fares amounts to £1.94 million – leaving an annual shortfall of around £4.5 million for the council to cover.

Campaigners' protest song against schools cuts

Campaigners protesting against secondary school cuts took to the streets of Lerwick in June. Photo: ShetnewsA MUSIC video created as part of a widespread protest against the possible closure of secondary schools in rural parts of Shetland has attracted almost 3,000 views in only two days.

‘Chasing Cuts’, a rewrite of the well known Snow Patrol song ‘Chasing Cars’, was put together by Faye Cox from Unst with the help of Communities United for Rural Education (CURE) and the Unst Action Group.

Disruption to flights

PEOPLE expecting to fly to and from Shetland on Tuesday morning were faced with several hours of delays after high seas washed debris onto the runway at Sumburgh Airport.

Workmen used diggers and other heavy plant to clear the east extension of the runway, which is currently being repaired as a result of previous weather-related damage.