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News / In brief for 19 June 2010

Sheep alarm

A DEAD sheep sparked a major air and sea search in Shetland on Thursday night after a 999 call to the emergency services reported a body in the water off St Ninian’s Isle.

The call came around 10.30pm and the Sumburgh-based search and rescue helicopter was scrambled, along with the No Ness volunteer coastguard crew and the Lerwick sector manager.

A total of 12 coastguard officers and two policemen joined in the search which lasted more than two hours, before the body was identified as a dead sheep.

The animal was recovered to make sure it did not cause any more alarm.


Rescue review

NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael has put his weight behind the coalition government’s decision to launch an “urgent review” of the country’s search and rescue services.

At the same time the government has announced Labour’s £7 billion plans to privatise the service have been abandoned to help reduce the budget deficit.

Mr Carmichael described Labour’s plans as “suspect” and at one stage left Shetland coastguard without back up search and rescue cover in November 2008.

“The search and rescue teams working in the northern isles do a fantastic job in the most challenging of circumstances,” he said.

“It is imperative that they are offered all the support they need and the review that is now underway will help determine how we can improve services across the UK.”


Magnus beefs up buffet

ESHANESS crofter Magnus Nicolson has brought his home grown beef to the Royal Highland Show.

Mr Nicolson, of Braewick, is a member of the Scottish Crofting Federation’s Scottish Crofting Produce trademark several which is supplying the show’s gourmet buffet of croft produce.

The buffet has been created by 33 year old Murdo Alex Macritchie of the Sulair restaurant in Stornoway, featuring carpaccio of Shetland beef along with all-butter Lewis lamb and marjoram pies,  confit of spiced Sutherland hoggettshoulder, Scotch eggs from Lewis pork and quails eggs, and Lewis strawberry and basil cheesecake tartlets.

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Mr Macritchie said: “I find the quality of croft-reared produce is far superior compared to the more commercial produce. The care crofters put into their animals shines through in the meat that I receive. We as restaurateurs should support our local crofters as much possible to ensure the future of such top-quality raw materials.”


Wake up to waste heat

THE SCOTTISH government has woken up to the potential of waste to heat schemes similar to Lerwick’s district heating schee.

A new report shows that waste to heat plants could meet six per cent of Scotland’s heating needs; waste to power plants could provide eight per cent of the country’s electricity; and combined projects could provide three per cent of total demand for both heat and power.

Energy minister Jim Mather said: “Our Zero Waste Plan outlines how we can all prevent waste, increase recycling and reuse valuable resources. Yet energy from waste has a part to play in a low carbon society where all efforts have been made to reduce, re-use and recycle valuable resources that would otherwise be buried in landfill.”

The Energy from Waste Potential in Scotland report is available at

Job opportunities

SHETLAND businesses are being urged to help school and college leavers this summer by offering work experience, employment or modern apprenticeships.

The Scottish government has set up a new employer helpline alongside a package of support to help young people move into long term sustainable employment, including incentives for employers, vocational pathway opportunities, graduate and entrepreneurial training opportunities.

Eighteen year old Jonny Polson took advantage of the scheme when he started work with graphic design firm Art Machine and is now on his way to a Modern Apprenticeship scheme.

“I have enjoyed what I have learned so much that I’m planning on going to art school in Aberdeen – one day I hope to have my own business and that’s when my work experience and knowledge will really pay off,” he said.

The employers helpline can be contacted at 0800 783 6000 or


Tough times

SCOTTISH finance minister John Swinney has written to all local authorities, health boards and other public bodies warning them of the need to implement savings wherever possible to maximise value.

Mr Swinney has called for greater scrutiny of public service provision, employment levels, administrative and back office functions, procurement of goods and services, travel, hospitality and accommodation, as well as any new spending commitments.

The government has set an example, he says, by cutting external recruitment, controlling staffing levels, limiting consultants, reducing air and rail travel, a ministerial and senior civil servant pay freeze. Other public sector pay rises are to be limited to one per cent

Mr Swinney said: “The challenges we face will impact on every man, woman and child in Scotland.  No part of the public sector will be immune.”

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