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News round-up / Clean beaches, rucksack found, community development, green fish market and tug consultation

Westvoe beach at Sumburgh. Photo: Hans J Marter/Shetland News

FIVE local beaches have again won Scottish Beach Award status by environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

The beaches at St Ninian’s Isle, Westvoe, Tresta Sands, Sands of Breckon and Westsandwick are highly recommended to get the bathing season under way this year.

Councillor Ryan Thomson, who chairs the council’s environment and transport committee, said the isles’ beaches were one of the reasons why Shetland recently landed a top ten listing in travel guide Lonely Planet.

“The five Shetland beaches receiving the Keep Scotland Beautiful awards have been recognised for years now for their quality and cleanliness, and I’d like to pay tribute to the many volunteers and council employees who work so hard to keep them to such a high standard,” he said.


POLICE are trying to the owner of a small rucksack that was found at the Hermaness Nature Reserve in Unst on Thursday afternoon.

A spokesman for the local police force said they were keen to ensure the owner’s safety after the Unst voluntary coastguard rescue team was initially called out.

The owner is asked to contact Police Scotland as soon as possible, either by calling along a police station or phoning 101.


TWO SHETLAND communities featured at an international community development conference in Aviemore this week.

Short films about the impact of Northmavine Community Development Company (NCDC) and Sandwick Social and Economic Development’s work on local community life was showcased to the 270 delegates.

The event, organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), attracted community groups and organisations from Nova Scotia, Maine, Norway and across the UK as they looked at the key issues for communities leading the way on their own social and economic futures.

Douglas Cowan of HIE said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to look in depth at the social and economic benefits and challenges of living in a rural community.

“There were remarkable similarities even across international communities – with people looking at how to retain and attract young people, and how to provide infrastructure, services and opportunities for all.”


LERWICK Port Authority is confident that using the latest green technology in its new fish market currently being built at Mair’s Quay will cut energy consumption in half compared to the old fish market.

The new 1,600 square metre fish market, on target to be completed in early 2020, uses the latest green technology and sustainable building materials including LED lighting, modern refrigeration, heating controls and insulation.

The £7.6 million project is backed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise plus loan facilities from the Bank of Scotland through its Clean Growth Finance Initiative.

LPA chief executive Capt Calum Grains said: “Bank of Scotland has been by our side for more than 100 years. Thanks to its support, we are able to grow our business sustainably and efficiently, while reducing environmental impact.”


ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael is challenging the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to improve the way it is consulting local communities on the future of the emergency towage provision around the UK coast.

It has emerged that four stakeholder meeting  have been arranged to take place in Liverpool, London, Bristol and Edinburgh.

Carmichael said he would question whether yet another review of the tug provision is necessary.

He added: “I wonder what expertise the Maritime and Coastguard Agency feel they will hear in London, Liverpool, Bristol and Edinburgh that they will not hear in Lerwick, Kirkwall, Stornoway or Mallaig.

“If this is a good faith exercise (and the history of their management of this service makes me suspicious) then their consultations should go beyond the big cities and reach into the costal and island communities most directly effected.

“It is simply not good enough, and senior management must ensure that our voices are heard and this vital asset is protected into the future.”

General Election - 12 December 2019