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Teenager breaks bail conditions

A YOUNG Shetland man was remanded in custody yesterday (Wednesday) after admitting breaching bail conditions imposed on him just two days ago.

Eighteen year old James Maloney was picked up by police officers in Lerwick on Tuesday evening when he should have been at his home address at 3B Burgadale, in Brae.

On Monday, Maloney was granted bail after pleading not guilty to a charge of breaking in to a house in the Grostane area of Lerwick, while on bail for other pending charges.

The Crown had argued against granting bail, which led to sheriff Roger MacDonald putting Maloney under curfew which required him to stay at home between 7pm and 7am every night.

Sentence on the breach of bail has been deferred until next week’s court on 28 July


Health care partnership to be launched

A NEW forum that will help health and care professionals in Shetland to find out what the public wants is being launched early next month.

The Shetland’s Public Partnership Forum (PPF) will:

  • provide information to people about health and social care services;
  • consult people about how to improve health and social care services; and
  • involve people in the planning and decision-making of health and social care in the isles.

A group of volunteers who previously had been involved with NHS 100 has been working behind the scenes to set up the group. This also resulted in the election of Carol Johnson, from Yell, as the PPF’s chairperson and Barrie Jehu, from Quarff, as her deputy.

On Monday, 2 August, between 12noon and 3pm, the group will be launched officially at the Islesburgh Community Centre and hopes to attract as many people to participate as possible.

NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh said that the isles’ PPF would be run by the public for the public and would be concerned with all aspects affecting the health and well being of people in Shetland.

“It is crucial that we are in touch with the local community and responding to their needs in ways that are most appropriate for our community. This will be particularly important through the challenging times that lie ahead.

“I would like to congratulate Carol and Barrie on being appointed as chair and vice-chair of the PPF.  They are both well-known for their enthusiasm and commitment to ensuring that the views of the community are heard and respected in everything we do and I wish them well as they take up their new roles,” he said.

Scottish Health Council director Richard Norris added: “NHS boards need to listen and respond to the people using health services and our role is to assist this process and make sure that it is happening.

“Public partnership forums are giving communities across Scotland a chance to have a real say in the NHS and we look forward to supporting NHS Shetland and its new public partnership forum develop a constructive and healthy dialogue”

NHS Shetland said that the PPF would strive to involve individual members of the public, the voluntary sector, charitable organisations and community groups and will link closely with the local planning mechanisms.

Anyone interested in the PPF is invited to come along to the meeting on 2 August or to contact Laura Saunders, CHP Projects Manager, on 01595 744 355, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Viking applies for more test masts

SHETLAND wind farm developer Viking Energy has applied to the local authority to erect two further wind data masts.

Both are revised applications which were withdrawn earlier this year after statutory consultees raised concern regarding nesting birds in the vicinity.

Viking Energy would like to erect the masts at Scar Quilse, at North Nesting, and at Flamister, in the parish of South Nesting.

Viking Energy plans to build a massive windfarm in the north central mainland of Shetland. With a proposed capacity of 540MW it will be one of the largest onshore developments in Europe.

In May this year, the developer was challenged by anti-Viking campaigners who claimed that the company was breaching planning conditions and disturbing red-throated divers while erecting three wind masts at Mid Kames, Scalla Field, and at Runn Hill.

On Thursday, Viking Energy said that following further consultation more appropriate locations for the two proposed masts in Nesting had been found.

Project manager David Thomson said: “We take our responsibilities to the environment very seriously and we’re happy to look at alternative locations for these two masts in order to avoid any problems.

“The new locations have been rigorously assessed by our independent experts.

Trust assists scouts to travel to Holland

ALMOST 20 young scouts from Shetland are embarking on a journey of a lifetime when they travel to the Continent this weekend to take part in celebrations that will attract 12,000 scouts to the Dutch town of Roermond.

Scouting in Holland celebrates its centenary this year and Shetland scouts will join likeminded people from across the world to mark the occasion with a 10 day scouting camp near the banks of the river Maas, starting on Monday 26 July.

Shetland Charitable Trust has been instrumental in enabling the Hjaltland Explorer Scout Unit and the 1st/2nd Lerwick Sea Scout Group to go to Holland by awarding two grants totalling £3,000.

Shetland Islands Council has also tapped into its community funds to help the Walls and District Scouts to join the trip.

Team leader Tommy Goudie said that without the trust’s help many of the not so well off kids would not have been able to join in the experience.

He said scouting was as popular as ever as it ticked all the right boxes to prepare for life in the 21st century including promoting world peace, and as an all inclusive organisation teaching kids and teenagers how to live in an environmentally sustainable way and in harmony with nature.

“The camp in Roermond will be an experience we’ve never had before. For many of our young scouts this will be their first camp ever outside Shetland. It will be quite an experience with lots of different activities to choose from,” Mr Goudie said.

A total of 18 scouts, four girls and 14 boys, aged between ten and 18, plus five leaders will leave Shetland on board the NorthLink ferry on Saturday. They are due to be back in the isles on 7 August.

Mr Goudie added: “We are very lucky in having an organisation like the charitable trust. They have helped us in the past and we are grateful for the assistance this time. No other community has this sort of financial help.

“Without the grant money from the trust we would have been lucky if half of the scouts could have gone to Holland.

Shetland Charitable Trust chairman Bill Manson said he was pleased to see that a relatively small amount of funding had such a huge impact on a worthwhile cause.

He said: “Our Community Development Grant Scheme is a useful tool to help local groups fulfil their aspirations.

“I understand the local scouts will also take some reestit mutton to Roermond to promote Shetland heritage while in Holland.”

Viking project not suspended

PLANS to build a 540 megawatt wind farm in Shetland are most certainly not suspended despite a government document saying it is.

Both partners in the £800 million project, Viking Energy and Scottish & Southern Energy, were adamant on Thursday that the project was on track.

A two page spreadsheet on the Scottish government’s website at caused some confusion as it states the status of the project as “suspended”.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish government yesterday apologised for the confusion, saying the term “suspended” didn’t mean suspended as it was just terminology used within the government’s energy consent and development unit.

“The project is not suspended. What it means is that we are awaiting new information from the developer. The ball is not in our court.

“Once we have received the new information within the next weeks, it will trigger a new consultation exercise,” she said.

Viking Energy project co-ordinator Allan Wishart said the company was in the final stages of working on the long awaited addendum in support of the original application for planning consent.

“We submitted an application for consent in May last year. There was lots of reaction to it. We are now dealing with that and are preparing the addendum, which will go in very soon.

“The project is certainly not suspended as far as we are concerned,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Scottish & Southern Energy added that there was no change to the project.


Signs of optimism at harbour

PUBLISHING its half yearly traffic statistics on Wednesday, Lerwick Port Authority said they had detected the first signs of economic recovery.

Port deputy chief executive Victor Sandison said that the period between January and June 2010 had ended on a positive note with cargo showing signs of recovery.

Other areas such as the passenger sector had shown a strong performance. The port also recorded a small rise in vessel arrivals and oil related shipping during the months of June.

Despite the decrease in oil-related activity between January and June, overall traffic was up on the same period in 2009, with total vessel arrivals at 2,765 rising 0.8 per cent and the tonnage by 7.3 per cent at 4.3 million gross tonnes.

There was a 14 per cent increase in pilotage movements to 486, with the gross tonnage of vessels piloted rising 60 per cent to 2,826,588 gross tonnes, mainly due to larger vessels using the port.

Activity levels earlier in the year meant that cargo for the six months showed a 1.9 per cent decrease to 379,170 tonnes.

There was a 19 per cent increase in passengers to 66,546, with ferry passengers on the scheduled services to the Scottish mainland and Orkney up by 8 per cent to 56,723 and the cruise season, which started in May and continued to build through June, bringing 9,823 passengers so far, a rise of 164 per cent.

Mr Sandison said: “The grounds for cautious optimism seen in the first quarter strengthened by mid-year, with further signs of a gradual recovery in activity.

“Cruise ships are expected to deliver a record season and there were indications of an upturn in key sectors such as cargo and oil-related traffic.”

Fish landings, however, continue to decrease with problems due to the limited number of days-at-sea available to the whitefish fleet.

Mr Sandison said: “The increased average price for white fish is not able to counteract the drop in volume.”

Fish landings totalled 32,508 tonnes, valued at £26.2 million, down 13 per cent on volume and 21 per cent on value.

The 5,028 tonnes of white fish landed were valued at £8 million, a drop of 13 per cent on volume and 9 per cent on value. The price per tonne increased 5 per cent to average £1,592 per tonne.

In the pelagic sector, winter mackerel landings were down in volume and value, with remaining tonnage to be taken in the autumn fishery.

There were landings of blue whiting to Shetland Catch for human consumption and a limited quantity landed at Heogan, Bressay, for fishmeal during the first quarter of the year.

Mist grounds planes

AIR TRAVEL in and out of Shetland was severely disrupted on Tuesday as thick mist engulfed the isles.

Sumburgh Airport manager Nigel Flaws said that not a single flight had managed to touch down at the airport.

The three morning and midday flights from Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow were all diverted to Kirkwall.

The only flights that managed to leave Shetland were the morning flights to Edinburgh and Kirkwall. All other flights were cancelled.

A spokesman for the oil industry airport at Scatsta said that they had not handled any fixed wing or helicopter movements on Tuesday.

The misty conditions are forecast to continue overnight and into Wednesday morning with the afternoon becoming brighter with some showers as a northerly breeze picks up.

Impressed by the local seafood

THE chief executive and the head of buying at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen London, Andrew Parkinson and Tony Welch, have just completed a two day fact finding visit to Shetland.

They two flew in to Shetland on Monday to see for themselves where their seafood is sourced and the techniques used by the local seafood industry.

Their visit was hosted by Alasdair MacPherson of Shetland's Finest, the company that supplies Restaurant Fifteen.

He said: "The first stop on our itinerary was a visit to Blueshell Mussels to see, first hand, the environment in which Shetland mussels thrive.

“From there, we went fishing out of Muckle Roe on the Viora to haul some creels and land some line-caught mackerel, cod and haddock.

"We also took a tour of Lerwick fish market so that Andrew and Tony could see for themselves the range and quality of fish landed in Shetland.

“Sourcing seafood from a sustainable resource and MSC certification is a top priority for Restaurant Fifteen and we were able to demonstrate the fisheries in Shetland that are already part of the programme and those that are working towards certification.

Mr Parkinson said: “As a first time visitor to Shetland, I'm very impressed with the sights we've seen.

“Alasdair's knowledge of the product is second to none and he leaves me no choice but to continue to purchase even more produce from Shetland for use on our menus at Fifteen Restaurant London!

"The prospect of Shetland's Finest gaining accreditation from MSC is very exciting as we at Fifteen are already signed up, therefore we will be able to highlight this on the menu."


Energy secretary’s visit delayed

THE VISIT to Shetland of the UK’s new secretary for energy and climate change, Chris Huhne, has been delayed until early October.

Shortly after becoming a government secretary, Mr Huhne had accepted an invitation from northern isles MP and party colleague Alistair Carmichael to visit the isles in recognition of their present and future role for the UK’s energy industry.

It was hoped that this visit could take place before the end of July, but Mr Carmichael confirmed on Wednesday morning that due to diary constraints the visit had now been re-scheduled to take place in October.

“We don’t have a definite date yet but it will be in the first week of October”, Mr Carmichael said.


One year to go

THE ORGANISERS behind one of the largest community events Shetland has ever seen said last night (Tuesday) that they felt “excited” as the final countdown to the Tall Ships Races 2011 event begins, and which is being marked with a reception held on the Swan, the isles’ own tall ship.

More than 70 tall ships with 3,000 crew are expected to visit Lerwick between 21 and 24 July next year.

Shetland Tall Ships 2011 vice chairman Peter Malcolmson said preparations for the mega event were well under way.

The committee has so far raised well above £200,000 in donations and sponsorships and said they had nearly reached two thirds of their sponsorship target.

Lerwick harbour will play host to the many tall ships which are also encouraged to visit other piers and marinas across Shetland.

Mr Malcolmson said that members of the organising committee would be in Hartlepool later this summer, the final port of this year’s tall ships races, to continue recruiting ships for next year.

One of the highlights of next year’s event will be the Cruise in Company leg between Greenock and Lerwick when vessels are encouraged to visit ports along the route.

Project officer Fiona Dally said that communities along the Scottish west coast and in the northern isles were “developing an excellent programme of activities to attract ships”.

Mr Malcolmson added: “We are really pleased with our progress so far, and grateful for all the community effort that is already being put in to make this event a huge success.

“In particular, our local Cruise in Company ports are already working hard to give ships an excellent experience of Shetland when they visit next year.

“Through local businesses and external funding bodies, we have nearly raised two-thirds of our sponsorship target, and need to raise a further £168,000 to enable us to host a fantastic event for locals and visitors.

“We’d like to thank our sponsors so far and encourage anyone who would like to be a part of this event to get in touch through”

Appointment reminder via text

NHS Shetland is using modern technology in a bid to reduce the significant number of missed appointments where patients don’t show up.

A text messaging service has now been launched for Lerwick Health Centre, but plans are already afoot to roll out the service across other health board areas in the isles.

Patients can now receive a reminder via text message 48 hours prior to their appointment, which also provides a number to call in case the appointment is no longer needed.

Shetland health board hopes the initiative will help them to cut down on the number of ‘did not attends’, or DNAs.

Lerwick Health Centre suffers from a particularly high number of lost appointments due to patients failing to turn up.

The health board’s service manager for primary care, Lisa Sutherland, said: “Lerwick Health Centre has a large number of DNAs and approximately 125 appointments per month were lost over the last six months.

“This obviously impacts on availability of appointments and we are keen to reduce the number of DNAs to improve patient access.”

Text message reminders have proved to be very successful in other health board areas where the number of ‘did not attends’ have been reduced by 70 per cent.

Anyone who would like to use the new service is asked to contact the practice in Lerwick.

Patients will have to give consent for their mobile number to be used for the reminder service. No patient information will be given out via text messaging.

NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh said: “This new service is a real ‘win-win’ for patients of the NHS at a time when we need to make the most of all our available resources.

“I hope that as many patients as possible take advantage of the service and look forward to rolling it out across other areas in future.”


Gruelling mountain charity cycle

FATHER and son team Phil and Paul Hibbert have returned to Shetland from a truly gruelling cycle challenge in the Pyrenean mountains completing the route from Hendaye, on the Atlantic, to Cerbere, at the Mediterranean, in just 98 hours and 30 minutes.

Rather than coping with unrelenting heat while climbing up some of the most famous mountain passes featured in the Tour de France, the pair had to struggle against torrential rain, cold winds and, on one occasion, heavy snow.

Crossing the Pyrenees in less than 100 hours is a classic among cycling enthusiasts.

The Hibberts are raising funds to help the visually impaired people of Shetland and are in the process of setting up an isles-based Vision Resource Centre, which will be based at Market House.

They set off from the Atlantic surfing resort of Hendaye on the Spanish border on 14 June in heavy rain showers.

Phil said: “Fears of coping with the heat and sunstroke soon became unfounded as we hit torrential rain and cold during the 113 mile first day.

“Damp in kit, if not in spirit, we set off the next day in cool but sunny conditions to climb the Col d’Aubisque, a col which will be included in this year’s Tour de France.

“Any thoughts of leaving the bad weather behind were soon shattered as the rain and cold returned in earnest on the long climb up to the Col du Tourmalet, another famous climb featuring in this years ‘tour’.

“The last three kilometres of this was cycled through heavy snow, bringing regrets about all the winter gear left in drawers back in Shetland.”

In fact, they experienced the worst week of weather in the Pyrenees in June anyone could remember.

“We could console ourselves that this was meant to be a challenge at least, although the thought that the Land’s End to John O’ Groats route was probably bathed in sunshine did cross our minds,” he added.

The last few hours of the route on the final morning did bring some sunshine. After just over 98 hours they reached the small resort in the fishing village of Cerbere.

They said they would like to thank James and Tez of Marmot Tours for providing essential back up in the support van, with food, water and begged and borrowed extra layers and hats.

They added that they were grateful to those who have sponsored them so far. Anyone wishing to help raise funds for Vision Shetland can still do so by sending donations, to Vision Shetland, Market House, 14 Market Street, Lerwick or to Phil Hibbert South House, Vidlin.


MP demands flexibility on tags

NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael has called on EU officials to allow for flexibility in livestock tagging rules after it emerged that delays in sourcing electronic tags could hit autumn sales in Shetland.

Under controversial EU rules introduced at the beginning of the year, all sheep born since 1 January must be fitted with an electronic identity tag (EID).

Suppliers are warning farmers and crofters that they may have to wait for up to seven weeks to receive their tags.

There are also fears that the delay could create problems for farmers wanting to participate in agricultural shows.

Mr Carmichael said on Tuesday: “Many of us who opposed the move to electronic sheep tagging did so because we believed the system that had been proposed was unworkable. It now begins to look like we were right.

“This is exactly the kind of situation that demonstrates why we need to see flexibility within the system until a review of the way these rules have been implemented and enforced is complete.

“Local farmers have done everything they possibly could have done to comply with the new rules. They must not be penalised as a result of a problem they had no hand in creating.”

Wind farm supporters go online

THE WINDFARM Supporters Group, formed last year to promote the proposed 540MW Viking Energy wind farm in Shetland, has launched a website.

A group spokesman said they hoped “the website would provide clear and balanced information to help people make up their minds about the Viking Energy plans”.

Viking Energy is preparing a so-called addendum to its original planning application, which will result in a revised lay-out for the massive wind farm.

Its publication had been expected for earlier this year, but has been delayed several times.

The Windfarm Supporters Group said on their website that the isles could play a major part in combating climate change, which, they say, already affects island life.

As Shetland already hosts the most efficient commercial wind turbines in the world, the isles could now harness its natural resources on a much larger scale, thereby “helping to shape the future of Shetland & the world”, the website says. offers information about the Viking Energy proposal, answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the wind farm and its implications for Shetland, and also links to national and international renewable energy websites.

The spokesman added: “Once Viking Energy has published its revised plans the website will allow people to register their support for the wind farm with the council and the Scottish Government.”


Busy Monday for sheriff court

A NUMBER of people are due to appear before Lerwick Sheriff Court today (Monday) following several arrests during the weekend.

Shetland police said this morning that they had arrested two people in Scalloway on Sunday evening after an alleged domestic breach of the peace. Both are due to appear before the court this morning.

A 25 year old man will appear on a separate case after having been arrested for assaulting another man on Victoria Pier, on Sunday evening. The victim was taken to the Gilbert Bain Hospital and was discharged a short time later.

And an 18 year old man is held in custody after being arrested for housebreaking in the Grostane area of Lerwick on Friday evening.

A 14 year old boy has also been arrested in connection with the same incident. A report is being sent to the children’s reporter.

Meanwhile, a man was taken into custody in Lerwick after allegedly damaging a police car at the Unst police station overnight between Friday and Saturday.

In other weekend incidents, police:

Seized controlled drugs after stopping and searching a 37 year old man in Lerwick on Saturday evening;

Arrested a 17 year teenager following a breach of the peace at the Burra Hall in the early hours of Sunday;

Arrested a 61 year old man in Whalsay for drink driving, on Sunday afternoon;

Arrested a 24 year old man for a breach of the peace at a house in Sandwick on Saturday.

Reports on all these incidents are to be sent to the procurator fiscal.

Meanwhile, police are reminding drivers to check their vehicles to ensure that all parts are in a safe and serviceable condition.

Acting sergeant Stuart Miller said officers had stopped a number of vehicles over the weekend and had to issue “vehicle defect rectification scheme tickets”.

No excuse for belt assault

A GLASGOW labourer who admitted injuring another man by hitting him twice with a belt over the head was fined £300 when he appeared from custody before Lerwick Sheriff Court, on Monday afternoon.

The court heard that on Sunday evening a drink fuelled argument had developed between the complainer and 25 year old Kenneth John Barrie, of the city’s 31 Corse Road.

Several people witnessed the assault which took place on Lerwick’s Victoria Pier at around 10pm.

Defence solicitor Linda Knarston said that an argument had blown up between the two parties, but it was not exactly clear what had caused it.

She said her client wanted to apologise to the court and the complainer, who had to be taken to hospital with minor injuries, but was immediately released after assessment.

Honorary sheriff Roger McDonald told Barrie that assaulting somebody else was not tolerated in society.

And he added: “Drink is not an excuse. People might think that, but it is not.”

Sheriff gives young man a chance

A TEENAGER narrowly escaped being remanded in custody awaiting trial in October when he appeared before Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday afternoon.

James Maloney, of 3B Burgadale, Brae, pleaded not guilty to a charge of breaking in to a house in the Grostane area of Lerwick on Friday evening, while on bail. As part of the same charge, Maloney is alleged to have acted with a juvenile.

Procurator fiscal Kathryn Gordon argued that Maloney should be kept in custody since he had previous convictions and had shown a “blatant disregard for court orders”.

But defence solicitor Linda Knarston said her client was on bail for a case that had not yet been determined and the court should not imprison a potentially innocent man.

She said the council’s social services had been able to get Maloney a place on a 17 day course run by the Venture Trust outside Inverness later this month, which could help her client to turn his life around.

She urged the sheriff to “give this young man a chance”.

Honorary sheriff Roger MacDonald granted bail but placed Maloney on a curfew between 7pm and 7am every night and told him that he must open the door to any police officer checking if he was at home.

Trial date was set for the 21 October 2010.

Fined for throwing chair

A SHETLAND man who threw a chair at his partner during a domestic argument was fined when he appeared from custody before Lerwick Sheriff Court, on Monday afternoon.

Peter Brian Smith admitted a charge of assault at his home address of 24 Gibblestone Court, Scalloway, on Sunday evening.

Defence solicitor Linda Knarston said her client was drunk at the time, remembered very little of the incident and couldn’t say why the argument had erupted.

Sheriff Roger McDonald said he saw the case as one at the lower end of what appears before the court and fined 42 year old Smith £70.

Shetland link draws US author

CRITICALLY acclaimed American author David Anthony Durham will give a talk at the Shetland Library later this month.

Mr Durham is married to local writer Laughton Johnston’s daughter Gudrun, who herself is a knitwear designer and runs the online blog The Shetland Trader.

He is the author of five novels including the Acacia fantasy trilogy and the historical epic Hannibal: pride of Carthage.

His work has been published in the US and UK and translated into nine languages.

His first Acacia book won the 2009 John W Campbell Award for best new writer, and he is currently working on the third book in the trilogy.

While in Shetland he will talk about his work and will be signing copies of his books, which are also available to borrow from the library. Entry is free to the talk in the library on 29 July, starting at 7pm.

The council’s services committee chairman Gussie Angus said: “I’m pleased to see that Shetland Library continues to provide the public with access to well-known authors, especially when there is a local connection.”

Another Whalsay skipper charged

AN ELEVENTH fishing skipper has been charged in relation to alleged illegal fish landings at the Shetland Catch fish processing factory in Lerwick five years ago.

On Thursday 54 year old George Anderson, skipper of the Whalsay pelagic trawler Adenia, appeared in private at Lerwick Sheriff Court charged with fraud.

He made no plea or declaration, was committed for further examination and released on bail.

In January three other Whalsay pelagic skippers were charged in relation to the same case along with the skipper of a Fraserburgh trawler, while in June six more Shetland skippers and one more from Fraserburgh were also charged.

Also appearing in private last January were the current and former managing directors of the Shetland catch factory Simon Leiper and Derek Leask.

The charges follow a major police and fisheries investigation which resulted in a police raid on the factory in September 2005.

Two arrested

A TWENTY three year old man and a 29 year old woman have been arrested in connection with an attempted break-in and a theft in Lerwick.

Police said that scrap had been stolen from business premises in Lerwick and there had also been an attempt to break in to building firm MK Leslie in May.

The police renewed their appeal to anyone with information about the recent spate of break-ins to contact them at Lerwick police station on 01595 69 2110.

These graduates are our future

OF more than 130 graduates who have taken work placements with Shetland Islands Council over the past decade, a third have gone on to full time employment with the authority.

This week the council celebrated the tenth anniversary of its graduate placement scheme, with a series of presentations from some of the young people that have taken part.

The graduates are placed in a range of council departments for 12 months and work on a range of projects.

Any notion that a “graduate placement” is a euphemism for chief filer and tea maker was swiftly brushed aside as the participants gave serious, thought-provoking and at times challenging outlines of their work.

Calab Marwick and Chris Silver worked with Learning School at the Anderson High School, which saw them lead an international group of students around the world to explore how personal and social development can be linked to learning in schools.

Chris explained how it had been “an incredibly unique and at times intense experience” that allowed them to bring innovative ideas back to Shetland.

Their research had real life applications and caused some excitement amongst the assembled audience, with councillor Jonathan Wills keen to explore how their findings might be incorporated into plans for the new Anderson High School.

Laura Fiske worked with planning whilst Marianne Gordon was placed within the schools service. Both played an active role in two major SIC consultations, the Main Issues report and the Blueprint For Education which will inform major decisions around planning and education in Shetland.

“It gave me the opportunity to put some of the planning theory I learnt at university into practice and I’ve been able to bring some new ideas to the planning team,” said Laura

Both presentations stimulated wider discussions about the role of schools within communities, such as whether a school is there solely to educate children or whether it has a wider, central role in a sustainable community - a very relevant and contentious question in the current political climate.

Art graduate Chloe Garrick worked in the schools service with Creative Links staff to develop arts and creativity within education. She delivered workshops in schools across Shetland and looked at how the arts link to wider creative activities and enterprise.

Creative Links officer Noelle Henderson was keen that Chloe had the freedom to develop her own research and projects. “That’s what is great about the scheme, the graduates bring refreshing new ideas that lead you in a different direction,” she said.

Training and skills coordinator Doreen Thomason, who oversaw the placement scheme, said: “These graduates are our future. There have been 132 people over the 10 years. A third of them gained full time employment in the council. It’s such a success story.”

The presentation took place on the same day the Association of Graduate Recruiters released figures showing that that the number of applications for each graduate job had soared from 48 last year to 70 in 2010.

In the face of such stiff competition the opportunity that these graduates have of gaining real-life experience seems all the more relevant. “The scheme gives them an advantage,” explained Doreen.

The benefits of the scheme are not confined to the graduates themselves. The belief that they introduce new, and at times challenging, ideas to organisations such as the council was echoed throughout the audience. There was talk of reflection, challenging hierarchies and creative thinking.

Depute chief executive Hazel Sutherland was keen to explore how some of their findings could be incorporated into the working processes of the SIC as a whole.

“They bring fresh ideas. I think we should listen to them” she said.

Driver admits drink problem

A SHETLAND builder was disqualified from driving for five years at Lerwick Sheriff Court after pleading guilty to being almost three times over the legal limit when he was stopped by the police.

Francis Philip Murray, of Setter, in Sandwick, admitted that he had a drink problem which he was now dealing with.

The court heard that 43 year old Murray had been under a lot of pressure from work and family related problems, when he was caught on the main A970 road near Gulberwick at 11pm on 31 March this year.

Procurator fiscal Duncan Mackenzie initially moved to have Murray's car forfeited, but withdrew his motion after he heard that the car, registered in his name, was exclusively used by his 21 year old daughter to get to and from work.

Addressing the court directly, Murray said that had police officers not stopped him that night his driving could have led to a more serious incident.

As this was Murray's second drink driving conviction, Sheriff Philipp Mann banned him for five years and fined him £1,200.

He told him that the disqualification period could be reduced by one year should he successfully complete a drink driver’s rehabilitation course.

Walls pier gets go ahead

PLANS to build a new £3.5 million pier in the Shetland village of Walls should proceed next year after permission was granted by the local planning board on Wednesday.

The 100 year old existing pier is no longer capable of coping with the demand from the local aquaculture industry and the ferry that serves the Atlantic island of Foula.

Work designing and preparing the planning application has been going on for the past four years and Shetland Islands Council has promised to pay for the work.

SIC planning board chairman Frank Robertson stepped down from the chair while the application was discussed as he has played a major part in its preparation as local councillor for Shetland West.

After the meeting he said that he was delighted the plans had been approved and expected contracts to be awarded before the end of this year so building work could commence next spring.

“The existing pier is 100 years old in May this year and suffering from structural fatigue and we will shortly be coming to the point where there will be a load restriction placed on this pier,” he said.

“That will make it very difficult for the aquaculture industry, for heavy loads to be taken on and off the pier and for cargo going to Foula.”

A recent socio-economic study demonstrated that the pier assisted in the generation of £1.8 million a year and 30 aquaculture industry jobs depended on it.

The new concrete pier will be 128 metres long and 10 metres wide with storage areas and a waiting room for Foula ferry passengers. There will be a 95 metre long rock armoured breakwater built immediately south of the new pier to support and protect the structure from south easterly gales.

The developers expect 2,600 lorries will deliver 18,000 square metres of stone to the site, with 10 loads a day over the year it will take to build.

Three local people objected to the application raising concerns including too many buildings going up on the site, heavy traffic when children go to and from school and foul odour from the aquaculture industry.

The planners have said traffic should be restricted between 8.30am and 9am and between 3.15 and 3.45pm to protect children.

Mitigation measures are also being introduced to minimise the impact of subsea blasting on dolphins, whales and otters that visit the area.

EU to re-examine EID chaos

EUROPE’S health and consumer policy commissioner John Dalli is to visit the UK to see the problems being created by the new electronic sheep identification (EID) rules.

Scottish crofters and farmers are being hardest hit by the new regime which demands that every one of the country’s 7 million sheep, the largest flock in Europe, is counted individually every time they move from field to market to abattoir.

The scheme introduced at the end of last year has caused an outcry throughout the land and led northern isles MP Alistair Carmichael to table a Parliamentary motion urging the government to take urgent action to stop the measures from being introduced.

When that failed Shetland MSP Tavish Scott tried and failed to gain a derogation for the islands saying EID would be the “death knell” of local sheep farming.

This week Mr Dalli has agreed to a request from UK food and farming minister Jim Paice to visit Scotland to see for himself the problems the new system is creating.

Mr Carmichael welcomed the visit, saying that much of the credit for it could be laid at the door of LibDem Scottish secretary Michael Moore,

He added that the problem could have been averted if action had been taken earlier by ministers in Edinburgh, Westminster and Brussels.

“I have always maintained that the new EID rules placed an unnecessary financial burden on our sheep farmers without delivering the improvement in traceability that was required.

“Bureaucrats in Brussels disregarded the concerns of local farmers before the law was changed. I am pleased that the Mr Dalli will now have the opportunity to see the problems that these regulations have caused in Scotland for himself.

“It should be remembered that we have found ourselves in this position because ministers in Edinburgh and Brussels took their eye off the ball and by the time they woke up to the implications of what was happening it was too late.

“I would hope that lessons about proper engagement with the EU commission will be learnt as a result of this, and that if we can repair the damage caused by this ill-considered scheme then DEFRA and Scottish government ministers will be more careful in future.’

The EID regulations were driven through by the EU’s health and consumer policy directorate whose previous commissioner Androulla Vassiliou refused similar invitations.