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News round-up / Lib Dems launch election campaign, bumper year for nature festival, dentist registrations up

Tavish Scott and Beatrice Wishart.

LIBERAL Democrat candidate for the vacant Shetland seat in the Scottish Parliament Beatrice Wishart kicked off her election campaign in Unst on Tuesday – with a little help from a friend.

Former MSP Tavish Scott joined the council’s vice convener as she met local people during UnstFest.

Wishart said she was excited to be launching the campaign from Scotland’s northernmost island.

“This is as far as you can get from Edinburgh, but where some of the decisions made in Scotland’s parliament are most acutely felt. My work with the council and in the parliamentary office has made me aware of the problems Shetlanders want sorted,” she said.

Scott added: “Unst is the right place to start Beatrice’s campaign for Shetland. There are many island issues to grasp, and they are all the more significant the further from Lerwick, never mind Edinburgh.”

At the last Scottish Parliament election, Scott won 67.4 per cent of votes in Shetland.

SHETLAND Amenity Trust’s annual nature festival attracted more than 1,000 participants to around 70 events over a nine-day period.

Nature festival participants also cleaned Woodwick beach in Unst. Photo: Shetland Amenity Trust

Working in conjunction with community groups, events took place across the islands including Fair Isle, Skerries, Fetlar and Unst.

Coasteering and sea kayaking events gave the more the adventurous the opportunity to see Shetland’s environment and coastline from a different perspective while the group that went otter hunting were lucky enough to see three otters.

On Wednesday night, participants were treated to a trip to Mousa to explore the island and see the storm petrels at the broch.

Organiser Paul Harvey said: “It was great to see so many people getting involved this year, a really good range of local people and visitors.

“We were really pleased to work with quite a number of community groups this year too, supporting them to put on events and showcasing what they have to offer, it really helped to make it feel like a community event.”

EFFORTS by the Scottish Government to increase the number of people receiving regular dental check-ups are paying off, according to SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Maree Todd.

She said latest NHS figures demonstrated that NHS dentist registration had rocketed with 137.8 per cent more adults registered in Shetland since 2007. The number of children registered with an NHS dentist almost doubled.

“This SNP Scottish government has taken huge strides in improving the oral health of people in Shetland and across Scotland,” Todd said.

“Here in Shetland, we’ve seen 137.8 per cent more adults and 99.6 per cent more children registered with an NHS dentist since 2007.

“Of course there’s always room for improvement, and I hope to see more people in Shetland ensuring they are able to access a local NHS dentist.”