Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

In brief for 1 July 2011

Seal protection

NEW measures to control the shooting of seals are working well, according to the Scottish government.

First quarter 2011 information on the Seal Licensing System shows that 80 seals were shot over the three month period, down from about 2,000 a year before the introduction of new laws.

Meanwhile, research by the Special Committee on Seals (SCOS) reveals an increase in grey seal pup production, indicating a population that is stable or slowly growing.

New reporting models put Scotland’s grey seal numbers at 108,000 – 90 per cent of the UK population.

Scottish secretary for the environment Richard Lochhead said: “As a government, we’re determined to strike the right balance between seal conservation and supporting the fisheries and aquaculture industries.”

Air discount

THE SCOTTISH government has promised to look again at the reasons behind its decision to withdraw the Air Discount Scheme from business travel.

Northern isles MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur told cabinet secretary Alex Neil and transport minister Keith Brown that they were to conduct a survey during the summer months to find out exactly the impact of the sudden change to island businesses and voluntary organisations.

Mr Scott said: “The ministers agreed to look again at the legal case on which they based their exclusion of business travel from the Air Discount Scheme. I have never accepted that there was a legal problem. The scheme, including business travel, has run without challenge since I started it in 2006.

“It has twice been cleared by the European Commission. The agreement to look again at the issue is a softening of the government line. Up until now, they have refused to accept that their case is anything but cast iron.

“We have some way to go before we get the government to agree to undo their damaging cut to the ADS, but these are a useful couple of first steps in the right direction.”

Fencing summer school

SHETLAND senior fencing coach Andy Alderman is running a number fencing summer camps for primary school kids to introduce them to the sport.

The courses are run in conjunction with Fencing Fun, a company which introduces kids to the sport using plastic and foam kit.

A two day fencing camp will be held at the Clickimin on 8 and 9 July, while there are three dates set for the Vidlin hall on 23 July, 30 July and 13 August.

Book online at www.fencingfun.co.uk or phone 07747 124169 for more information.

Playpark

A NEW play area that has all its equipment chosen by local children has just been opened at Quoys, in Lerwick.

Speaking after a small opening ceremony on Thursday afternoon, the council’s leisure facilities officer Magnus Malcolmson said “I think that this project has been a really good example of people working together.

“We asked the local community for their thoughts when we were initially designing this play area. Rather than leaving it to parents to choose the equipment we asked their bairns, so the final selection was a direct result of what they said they wanted.”

As well as things you’d expect to find in a play park such as a climbing frame and slide, this play area has elephant and motorbike springers, a nest swing and a springy see-saw.

High voltage warning

UTILITY company Scottish & Southern Energy is reminding parents and their children never to venture near sub-stations of high voltage power lines.

The warning comes after staff in Shetland had to be called out to remove footballs from sub-stations.

Shetland operations manager Darren Hitchin said: “We are often asked to retrieve footballs and other toys from our substations. Just recently, we were called out to remove a kite from the overhead lines in Scalloway.

“It is very easy to forget that overhead wires carrying high voltages of electricity could be nearby or even overhead.  Touching them or even just coming near them with long objects can be fatal, because electricity can jump gaps.”

He added that people should avoid erecting anything under or close to an overhead power line, including trampolines and tents, and that kites should be flown in open areas away from overhead power lines.

Big Voice

A GROUP of young Shetland film makers have won professional film production support worth £1,000 in the Big Voice competition, sponsored by BT.

The submission of the Shetland Student Advisory Group, made up of pupils from across the isles, centres on the issue of body image through a young girl who idolises a thin celebrity.

After crash dieting she ends up losing concentration and fainting. The film is populated with anorexia figures, but ends with the positive message: “Be happy with who you are!”

Lewie Peterson, the global learning co-ordinator who runs the group, said: “They are all really chuffed to find out that their idea won. Many of them were very, very keen to make this film, regardless of whether or not they won it.”

All entries will be screened on giant London 2012 Live Site screens all over the UK during spring 2012 with the Scottish winner being announced at a Live Site event in Edinburgh.

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