SIC - Orkney & Shetland valuation joint board

In brief for 2 February 2011

Damages for son’s death

Local builder Dennis Thomson has been awarded £90,000 in compensation following the tragic death of his son James in a freak accident on a building site in Shetland, in March 2007.

Mr Thomson sued his own firm Dennis Thomson Builders Ltd for £100,000 at the Court of Session.

His 26 year old son died when a canister of expanding foam exploded and struck him on the chest with fatal force. A fatal accident inquiry concluded that the cause of his death may never be known.

Growing business

NORTHERN isles ferry operator NorthLink has reported a successful year in 2010 with growing passenger and freight numbers.

Managing director Bill Davidson told the council’s external transportation forum that passenger numbers were up 6.1 per cent, mainly due to more people wanting to visit the isles.

Car volumes were up by 7.2 per cent, and freight and livestock figures grew by 5.8 per cent.

“The best way for us to reduce the subsidy is by growing our business,” Mr Davidson said.

Beatles actor joins film

ACTOR and musician Chris O’Neill who played George Harrison in the Beatles biopic Backbeat is the latest recruit to Between Weathers, due to be filmed in Shetland this summer.

O’Neill will play the part of a story-telling busker, joining Scottish actors Dawn Steele, Sharleen Spiteri and Colin McRedie for the “feel good romantic comedy drama” directed by Aberdeen filmmaker Jim Brown.

He said: “I am really excited that Jim has asked me to be a part of this new movie. It is such a great story and the location looks unbelievable.

“I am currently on tour in France and brushing up on my French and I can’t wait to get up to Shetland and learn to speak some Shettish! What’s the best way to get there? Is it the high road or the low road, answers on a postcard please!”

Council cuts

SHETLAND Islands Council meets next week to agree a budget for the next financial year, which will have to involve major savings and could mean job cuts.

This week neighbouring Orkney Islands Council agreed £4 million savings, representing almost five per cent of its £83 million budget. The council has warned it will have to remove 80 people its workforce with more jobs to go in future years.

The SIC’s budget is 25 per cent larger than Orkney’s and therefore the level of savings and job losses could be even greater.

Uyeasound school

CLOSURE threatened Uyeasound primary school on Unst has come out runner up in an international competition to find the best educational Wiki website in the world.

Having already earned the best inspection report for any primary in Scotland, the 11 pupil school came a close second to last year’s winner of Edublogs Best Educational Wikis 2010 from Zagreb, Croatia.

The judges described Uyeasound’s wiki Metasaga as “gorgeous” and praised head teacher Kate Coutts.

“Each individual Metasaga feels like a deeply personal guided tour, full of photographs, histories, and personal impressions. They are fascinating explorations of place that make you itch to go out and create your own,” they said.

The site can be found at


POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a car parked at Sandside, Mossbank, was damaged between 3.45pm on Sunday and 8.50am on Monday.

They said it appeared the damage was intentional and asked anyone with information to call 01595 692110 or 694544.

Fishy business

Higher prices and consumer demand have prompted the largest fish farming and processing companies to reshape their businesses.

Norwegian firms Norway Pelagic ASA and Austevoll Seafood ASA are in talks about transferring Austevoll’s stake in Lerwick processing factory Shetland Catch.

“This is a major step in the ongoing consolidation and restructuring of the pelagic industry,” a spokesman said.
Last month Grieg Seafood ASA, which owns the largest salmon business in Shetland, agreed to acquire Erfjord Stamfisk AS, while Leroey Seafood Group ASA agreed to buy Jokisen Evaeaet Oy.