Two new wind farms
THE SCOTTISH government announced yesterday (Tuesday) they had approved two new wind farms in Scotland.
The 21 turbine Baillie wind farm, at Westfield, near Thurso, will cost £80 million to develop and feed 52.5 megawatts (MW) of electricity into the upgraded Beauly-Denny power line.
A public inquiry was held in March 2008 after Highland Council objected, but the reporter recommended consent be granted. There had been 829 letters of support and 433 objections.
An expansion of the Rothes wind farm, near Elgin, by 14 turbines was approved, brining the total capacity up to 95MW. Moray Council backed the plan, to which there were 37 objections.
Energy minister Jim Mather said: “These schemes are good for Scotland’s low carbon economy and further examples of the action we need to take now to tackle climate change.”
Grants for artists
SHETLAND Arts is inviting local visual artists to apply for the latest round of Visual Artist Awards, which are open to artists with an established body of work who have lived in the isles for at least 12 months.
Applications are invited for help with travel, exhibition costs, materials, equipment and other costs which will assist creative and professional development. The deadline is Friday, 5 February.
Broadband action needed
SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has once again called on the Scottish and UK government to improve broadband communication across the country to get rid of “not spots” like West Burrafirth where there is no broadband and no mobile connection.
Writing on the website www.publicservice.co.uk , the Scottish Liberal Democrat leader says that leaving broadband to the marketplace leaves remote areas behind, and calls for a “universal service obligation” similar to the one promised by the Royal mail.
He also calls on the government to “step in and knock the (mobile) operators’ heads together” to remove “not spots” and provide a universal 3G service.
The full article can be found at http://www.publicservice.co.uk/feature_story.asp?id=13432
Avoid the ice
EMERGENCY services throughout Scotland yesterday warned people to steer clear of frozen water as melting ice may not be thick enough to support people’s weight.
Richard Haigh, of the Chief Fire Officers Association Scotland, said: “As temperatures in some areas begin to rise, the ice will weaken and present an even greater risk to those who venture on to it.
“There have been a number of instances where people and animals have fallen through ice and lives have been lost.
“I would urge people simply not to take such unnecessary risks; stay off the ice and keep pets on a leash.”
Schiehallion still down
OIL production at the Schiehallion floating platform west of Shetland is still on hold three months after production was stopped following an accident.
Shetland Islands Council has already lost more than £1 million from lost revenue with the shutdown, caused when the shuttle tanker Loch Rannoch damaged the main export hose reel on 9 October.
A BP spokesman said yesterday that a return to normal production was “still some weeks away”.
Rural Priorities extension
THE SCOTTISH government has announced an extension to the deadline for the next Rural Priorities assessment round. Applicants now have until 25 January to submit an application instead of 11 January.
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said he had received a number of requests for an extension due to the adverse weather conditions across the country over the past few weeks.
As a result of the extension, the date for finalising projects has also been extended to 12 February, and taking account of the Easter holiday period the assessment committees will now sit over the last two weeks in April.
Viking stand up returns
FOLLOWING last year’s successful Stand Up Helly Aa and the Clickimin Comedy Night in August, Shetland Arts has invited popular Unst-based comedian and actor Sandy Nelson to once again host a comedy alternative to the Up Helly Aa celebrations in Lerwick.
On 26 January after the main Up Helly Aa procession is over and the last torch thrown into the burning galley, a night’s entertainment will start at Lerwick’s Garrison Theatre.
This year Nelson will be accompanied by professional comedians, Scottish Comedian of the Year in 2006 Mark Nelson, and actor, comedian and compere Raymond Mearns, both of whom regularly appear at the Stand Comedy Club in Glasgow.
The show begins at 9pm with doors open from 8.30pm. Tickets can be bought from Shetland Box Office, at Islesburgh Community Centre, or on 01595 745555 and are priced £10. The recommended audience age is 16 and up!