In brief for 29 March 2011

Drilling delayed

WORK on two new North Sea oil fields to the south east of Shetland has been halted by Norwegian energy giant Statoil following the tax hike for the oil industry in last week’s UK government budget.

Chancellor George Osbourne imposed the tax increase on the industry to fund the £2 billion reduction in fuel duty for motorists, which should see 1p off each litre.


Oil & Gas UK chief executive Malcolm Webb said: “The move has made companies rethink their plans to step up investment in the next few years, jeopardising tens of thousands of jobs as well as indigenous oil and gas production, which will likely lead to an increase in the import of these fuels.”

Some Liberal Democrat MPs are reported to be considering rebelling against the budget plan, but northern isles MP Alistair Carmichael, the government’s deputy chief whip, said with oil prices going through the roof it was legitimate to turn to the industry to help drivers.


Earth Hour

SHETLAND topped the UK table at the weekend for signing up to switch off the lights as part of Earth Hour, the global environmental action organised by wildlife charity WWF.

In Shetland 355 residents, seven businesses and seven organisations joined the pledge to switch off lights between 8.30 and 9.30pm on Saturday, giving the islands the highest percentage of participants.

In West Sandwick, on Yell, the public hall opened for a candle-lit games night. Hall secretary Rachel Colclough said: “It was nice the community pulled together and every household did their bit. Turning the power off let us enjoy the lovely starry night!”


SIC head of environment and building services Stephen Cooper paid tribute to staff in the council’s energy and environment department.

“The level of support we saw at the weekend says a lot about Shetland as a place. It proves that climate change and reducing carbon is something Shetlanders take very seriously.”

Damaged vehicle

SHETLAND police are looking for information about a vehile that was damaged outside Lerwick’s Gilbert Bain Hospital between 9am and 9.45 am on Tuesday morning.

Norwegian artist

NORWEGIAN artist Amy Lightfoot begins an exhibition of woodcut prints at Shetland Museum’s Da Gadderie from Sunday 3 April.

The woodcuts are based on research Lightfoot has carried out in Shetland over the past 21 years meeting old Shetlanders and talking about their lives, especially about sheep husbandry and textile production.

She said: “When reading transcripts of interviews taped over the years, the word ‘hømin’, meaning twilight, has come to my mind. The twilight of a rapidly disappearing tradition of skills from the time of their able working life, which is why I chose to call this exhibition ‘Høminland’.”

The artist will give a talk at Da Gadderie on Monday 4 April at 12.15pm. Admission is free and the exhibition runs until 2 May.


Petrofac back Tall Ships

THE COMPANY building the new £500 million Total gas plant in Shetland has joined the growing list of sponsors for this year’s visit of the tall Ships race to the islands.

Petrofac have announced they will put £12,000 into the event, which takes place over four days in Lerwick harbour from 21 July.

Events are also being planned in Fair Isle, Scalloway, Yell, Unst and Whalsay.

Young volunteers

SIC chief executive Alistair Buchan has handed out awards to 24 young volunteers in the islands who have received their MV Awards from Voluntary Action Shetland.

Certificates of excellence for 200 hours of volunteering have gone to John Arthur, Kirsty Budge, Symone Duddy, David Eva, Laurence Goudie, Daren Gunn, Thomas Hawick, Emily Shaw, Felix Gifford, Jack Henderson, Hannah Hunter, Graham March and Megan Richardson.

Awards for 100 hours went to Cheuk Man Cheng, Andrew Goodlad, Thomas Grant, Hannah Hunter, Chelsea Jamieson, Ian Mutch, Rachel Nicolson, Nicole Petursdottir and Lachlan Shaw.

Fifty hour award certificates were handed to Katie Anderson, Hannah Garrick, Laura Kater, Rebecca Laurenson, Shane Leask, Keegan Murray and Alice Pottinger.