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In brief – 8 January 2010

Lantern alert

SHETLAND coastguard yesterday (Thursday) reminded people setting off Chinese lanterns into the sky to let them know, in case they are mistaken for flares.

The call came after the Lerwick lifeboat was called out after a red flare was seen over Mousa on Wednesday evening around 6.30pm. Nothing was found at the scene, but on their way back at 10pm the lifeboat crew saw several Chinese lanterns over Brei Wick, off Sound.


Geography lesson

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott gave the Scottish government a geography lesson after it emerged that the isles have yet again been omitted from an official website.

The severe weather warning page on the Traffic Scotland website at http://www.trafficscotland.org/weather/index.aspx does not even show the isles in a box to the right of Aberdeen.

The former transport minister said: “I know that central belt government struggles with anywhere north of Stirling, so it looks like Shetland will have to re-print the famous tee shirt with Scotland in a small box of the east side of Whalsay.

“This is simply not good enough and I will be asking the government to change it immediately,” he said.


Old boilers

NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael has urged UK and Scottish ministers to work together to ensure that his constituents will benefit from the Boiler Scrappage Scheme.

Under current arrangements only households in England and Wales will receive grants of £400 to replace their G-rated boilers.

Mr Carmichael said: “Orkney and Shetland suffer some of the worst winters anywhere in the UK, the current weather being a case in point.

“It is unacceptable that those places which are forced to spend the most on heating their homes will be ineligible for this scheme.

“It is important that ministers both sides of the border work together to ensure resources are found so that local people can also benefit from the scheme, which should reduce energy consumption, save bills and help the economy.”


Ferry chief retires

LAWRIE Sinclair, chief executive of the David MacBrayne Group, which includes ferry operators CalMac Ferries Ltd and NorthLink Ferries Ltd, will retire at the end of June.

Mr Sinclair had led the company’s successful bids to provide lifeline ferry services for both the northern isles and the Clyde and Hebrides.

He said: “My time with CalMac has been one of the most challenging and rewarding times of my life, and I leave with very mixed feelings.

“However I do believe that as we approach the retendering of the contracts for both the northern isles and Clyde and Hebrides ferry services, the time is right to pass the baton onto someone else to take the David MacBrayne Group forward.”