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BP push back new £500 million gas plant

The expansion of the Sullom Voe terminal site to incorporate a new gas sweetening plant is being postponed by six months due to the oil price crash. Photo BPSULLOM Voe oil terminal operators BP have postponed construction of a £500 million gas sweetening plant for six months.

The decision was triggered by the sudden descent in the global price of oil, which has forced the multinational to reexamine its entire portfolio of capital projects.

However BP say the new start date for construction in early 2016 means the project can be completed faster, saving the company money in the process.

UKIP to field Robert Smith again

Robert Smith.THE CONTEST to represent the northern isles in the next UK parliament is set to be another five horse race.

Orkney fisherman Robert Smith confirmed on Wednesday that he is again to stand for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

The chairman of UKIP's Orkney branch wrote party history five years ago when he secured 6.3 per cent of the vote in Orkney and Shetland and became the only UKIP candidate in Scotland to save his deposit.

Staney Hill houses to address 'dire' shortage

The site where between 300 and 400 new homes could be built.UP TO 400 new homes could be built in the north of Lerwick if councillors back a recommendation from Shetland Islands Council planners to give the development permission in principle.

Shetland Leasing and Property Developments (SLAP), working in association with Hjaltland Housing Association, wants to develop a 29 hectare site at North Staney Hill to provide much needed housing in the town.

Man arrested from Glasgow bound plane

The man was arrested from Loganair/Flybe"s flight to Glasgow - Photo: ShetNewsLOGANAIR's lunchtime service from Shetland to Glasgow was delayed by more than an hour on Tuesday after a 29-year-old man tried to board the plane with an offensive weapon.

Police were alerted after Sumburgh airport security staff took the weapon off the man prior to him boarding.

The aircraft was already in the process of getting ready for take off and had to return to its apron outside the terminal building to allow two police officers to arrest the man.

Plane plummeted 2,900 feet after lightning strike

One of Loganair's Saab 2000 aircraft was struck by lightning in December.A PLANE struck by lightning on its way to Shetland in mid December nose-dived to 1,100 feet above sea level on autopilot before starting to climb, an Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) report has found.

The captain of Loganair’s Saab 2000 believed the strike had disabled the plane’s autopilot system and attempted to turn its nose upwards, but the aircraft did not respond as anticipated.

Chair resigns to keep politics out of the arts

Alistair Carmichael and Danus Skene are keen to keep the general election campaign out of the Shetland Arts dispute.SHETLAND Arts Development Agency (SADA) chairman Danus Skene has resigned from his position with the organisation to concentrate on the general election campaign he is contesting for the SNP.

His move follows an intervention by northern isles Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael who has called on Shetland Arts to go public on its plans to restructure the arts development agency.

Skene made it clear that he did not want the organisation to become a political football during the election campaign.

Into the breach for Bressay’s jarl squad

WHAT do you do when the Guizer Jarl is forced to pull out of your local fire festival at the last minute?

Why, naturally, you call on your local MSP for help.

Sure enough, Tavish Scott stepped into the breach and on Friday he stepped out again at the head of 20 men to lead the Bressay Up Helly Aa jarl squad as a character called Hans Siggurdsson.

Yell’s gruelling three day Viking party

LIKE the community itself, Cullivoe Up Helly Aa is growing from strength to strength with no small thanks due to this year’s jarl’s ancestors.

Back in 1970 when Andrew Williamson was Guizer Jarl the number of squads was on the decline.

So the following year his wife, local head teacher Carol, and he organised the first primary school pupils’ Up Helly Aa squad.

Pilot whale causing concern in Whiteness

The long-finned pilot whale in Whiteness Voe. Photo Brian GrayA WHALE which has been swimming around a Shetland voe for the past five days has been causing concern in local wildlife circles.

The long-finned pilot whale appeared in Whiteness Voe on Sunday where it remained until Tuesday when it swam back out to sea, according to local whale watchers Steve and Sharon Jack.

However the whale returned on Wednesday afternoon and is now swimming close inshore around Nesbister, raising concerns about its wellbeing.

Council tenant airs mould problems

Stephannie Thomas: 'I've never lived in a house before where I'm told keep the furniture away from the walls' Photo ShetnewsA BRAE family say they have lost all confidence in Shetland Islands Council's housing department after living in a council house infested with mould and fungi for the past 18 months.

Mother of four Stephannie Thomas said that when she alerted the council, they told her to improve her ventilation and keep furniture away from walls to stop them getting damp and mouldy.

Easter strike threat at Sumburgh Airport

Sumburgh airport faces disruption if security staff take industrial action.FLIGHTS in and out of Sumburgh and other airports across the region face disruption this Easter after security staff announced plans to ballot on strike action.

Members of the Prospect union said they had run out of patience with management at Scottish government-owned Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd after five years of failed negotiations on equal terms and conditions.

Yell haunted house back on the market

The Windhouse dates back from the early 18th century - Photo: Courtesy of Dowle, Smith & RutherfordTHE MYSTERIOUS ruin of a former laird's house on the Shetland island of Yell is back on the market after an earlier attempt at restoration came to nought.

Windhouse, near Mid Yell and overlooking the head of Whalefirth Voe, is reputed to be the most haunted house in Shetland.

Shetland seal freed from deadly netting

A YOUNG grey seal was spared an agonising death after it was cut free from monofilament netting on a remote Shetland beach on Tuesday.

Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary received a call from local people who had seen the seal during a walk in Fethaland, at the far northern tip of Shetland's mainland at the weekend.

SNP name Skene as their candidate

SNP prospective parliamentary candidate Danus Skene in Lerwick on Tuesday - Photo: Hans J Marter/ ShetNewsRETIRED teacher and current chairman of Shetland Arts, Danus Skene, has been confirmed as the SNP's parliamentary candidate for the Orkney and Shetland constituency at the forthcoming general election.

It is the first time the 70 year old has stood on an SNP ticket after having fought a Westminster seat twice before for the Liberal Democrats - in North Tayside back in 1983, and in Moray four years later.

Yell fashion designer's catwalk success

Paul Thomson collection using Shetland wool - Photo: Courtesy of Paul ThomsonLOCAL textile designer Paul Thomson's striking creations using Shetland wool could be the next big thing in the world of fashion after a hugely successful catwalk show at Somerset House, in London, on Friday.

Thomson's work caught the eye of the fashion press when he was one of only four students named as showing the most promise at Saint Martins College annual MA graduation fashion show.

Jarl Ingulfor Arnason’s return to Norwick

Guizer jarl Melvyn Clark with his wife Jolene - all photos: Kevin OsborneTHE SPECIAL sense of community is at the heart of all the country Up Helly Aas, and Saturday's proceedings in Norwick were no different.

Guizer Jarl Melvyn Clark praised the magic of community events where everybody does their bit, and things happen because people care.

It’s braaly fertile up north

ONE issue has dominated life in Northmavine for the past 12 months, and Friday’s local Up Helly Aa was dedicated to the theme - the council’s decision last November not to close two of the three local primary schools.

One of the main arguments for keeping Urafirth school open was the sheer number of bairns being born in the neighbourhood, especially Eshaness, where this year’s Guizer Jarl Magnus Nicolson hails from.

Sumburgh foghorn returns after three decades

MEMORIES of a bygone time were brought back to life at Sumburgh on Friday when for the first time in almost 30 years the lighthouse's distinctive foghorn blasted its signal across the bay.

Thanks to the meticulous work of Northern Lighthouse Board engineer Brian Johnson, Shetland Amenity Trust has now been able to complete another milestone of its Sumburgh Lighthouse restoration project.

SIC “flouting law” on school closures

Scottish Rural Schools Network chairman Sandy Longmuir SHETLAND Islands Council has been accused of “flouting the law” in an attempt to avoid a legally binding moratorium on closing two local schools for five years.

On Wednesday the SIC said it would not publish the results of its consultation into closing or ending S4 education at the junior high schools on the islands of Yell and Whalsay, which it has decided to leave as they are.

The move, it believes, would allow it to consult again within two years or less on closing the two schools, despite new legislation that stops further consultations for five years.

Legal advice leaves charitable trust in disarray

SIC convener and SCT councillor-trustee Malcolm Bell.THE TROUBLED relationship between Shetland Islands Council and Shetland Charitable Trust has reached a low ebb after five councillors walked out of a trust meeting on Thursday morning.

Trustees met to agree a £9.85 million budget for 2015/16 – nearly £800,000 down on what it spent in 2014/15. But after a delayed start due to technical problems, proceedings in Room 10 at Islesburgh swiftly descended into farce.

Twenty four hours earlier, trust management had issued legal advice stating councillor-trustees must not participate in a decision on whether to cut funding towards Shetland’s rural care homes by £83,500.

TV night-in turned nasty

A NIGHT in drinking and watching TV in Shetland’s south mainland last month transformed into a violent struggle with the police that has landed one man in jail.

Two police officers went to a house in Midgarth, Cunningsburgh, on 16 January after neighbours complained they were fed up with the noise.

However when the police arrived at the door they were met with “extreme hostility” that turned into physical violence when they started to make arrests for failing to turn down the TV.

‘More than just saying sorry’

It seemed appropriate that a seminar entitled Unpacking Forgiveness happened to fall on Shrove Tuesday, which is traditionally a day of confession and self-examination, writes Shetland News reporter Genevieve White.

The seminar, held in Sound Hall earlier this week, was chaired by council convenor Malcolm Bell and jointly organised by Shetland Arts development officer Clair Aldington and project manager of Community Mediation, Alyson Halcrow.

Twenty-four delegates attended the day's seminar in addition to 14 speakers and helpers. Delegates came from a range of different backgrounds and included interested individuals, inter-faith representatives, teachers and representatives from the children's panel.

Ambulance staff face 'lamentable' conditions

The ambulance service should move its base to the new Lerwick Fire Station, says MSP Tavish Scott.SHETLAND’S ambulance station is under-resourced with staff facing “lamentable” working conditions and the Scottish Government should intervene, according to isles MSP Tavish Scott.

He said local ambulance staff are being put under increasing pressure, prompting him to write to Scottish health minister Shona Robison “demanding that Shetland and the local staff get a fair deal”.

Drink driver’s car might be confiscated

A LERWICK drink driver will have to wait for another four weeks to find out whether his car will be confiscated by the court after he admitted driving while five times the legal limit for alcohol.

Neil Jamieson, of Sandveien, Lerwick, was stopped by police officers because of the manner of his driving at the town’s South Road at lunchtime on 26 January.

Cautious welcome as SIC freezes school closures

Education and families committee chairwoman Vaila Wishart.A LERWICK councillor’s attempt to introduce fresh consultations on shutting three secondary school departments in Shetland has been defeated by a resounding 16-3 margin.

Jonathan Wills put forward a plan to begin consulting on either shutting or reducing provision at Aith, Baltasound and Sandwick junior highs – with a view to saving around £2 million a year – at a meeting of Shetland Islands Council on Wednesday morning.

But members overwhelmingly backed education committee chairwoman Vaila Wishart’s motion to call a halt to all closure proposals until 2017 – unless the SIC’s 2016/17 financial settlement is worse than expected.