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News round-up / Oil worker airlifted after fire, Greenpeace protest over, Scalloway hustings, college merger concern, proposed election law ‘harmful’, Debra a candidate again

The coastguard helicopter landing at the emergency Clickimin landing site earlier this year. Photo: Margaret Clark

AN OIL worker with an arm injury was airlifted to the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick on Monday after a fire broke out on the Taqa owned Tern Alpha oil platform, 105 miles northeast of Shetland.

The fire broke out at around 2pm on Monday and was quickly extinguished. Oil production was halted temporarily but is expected to resume again on Tuesday.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is under way.

Photo: Marten van Dijk/Greenpeace

GREENPEACE campaigners have left the Brent field after staging a 24-hour protest against plans by oil company Shell to leave the legs of three platforms standing in the sea while decommissioning the topside structures.

The environmental campaigners left the area after painting “toxic waste” on one of the legs.

Some of the 15 member states of marine environment body OSPAR have voiced concern and are in objection to Shell’s plans to leave the massive legs of the Bravo, Charlie and Delta platforms in situ.

They contain 640,000 cubic metres of oily water and 40,000 cubic metres of oily sediments – a total of 11,000 tonnes of oil, according to Shell’s own calculations.

OSPAR will meet on Friday to discuss the issue.

VOTERS in the Shetland Central ward will have an opportunity next week to quiz the candidates vying for the vacant council seat during an election hustings at the Scalloway Hall on Wednesday (23October).

The event, which has been organised by the local community councils, starts at 7.30 pm.

Andrew Archer, chair of Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale Community Council, said: “We need to encourage folk both young and old to participate in politics, to ask questions of potential candidates and ultimately to vote.

“I hope that as many people as possible will turn out next week to find out more about the people who would like to be their councillor.”

THE TEACHER and lecturer’s union EIS has raised concern over the proposed merger of the Shetland College, NAFC Marine Centre and Train Shetland.

The union has written to education secretary John Swinney after it emerged that the new organisation could sit outside the governance arrangements for further education colleges.

In the letter EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “Whilst the EIS is supportive of the proposed merger, it has significant concerns about recommendations which are emerging from the shadow project board that any new entity will be an unincorporated body.

“The EIS believes that this move would be detrimental to the security of educational provision in Shetland, with delivery being undertaken by a company limited by guarantee which would not be subject to the same governance arrangements in place for incorporated colleges in Scotland.”

Alistair Carmichael
Isles MP Alistair Carmichael. Photo: Shetland News

ORKNEY and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has criticised the new ‘election integrity’ law announced in the Queen’s Speech by saying it could make it harder for marginalised groups to vote.

“This is a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. The idea that we need a compulsory voter ID system to prevent fraud is like saying we need a new law against hunting unicorns. It is a solution to a problem that does not exist,” the MP said.

“Still worse, the so-called solution creates a new problem, by harming our democratic rights. Not everyone has a passport or drivers’ license and elderly voters especially will not appreciate the complication that this would add to what should be a simple act of civic engagement.

“We should continue to encourage higher voting rates, not throw obstacles in the way. The government should think again.”

SCOTTISH Greens candidate at the Shetland by-election for the Scottish Parliament in August, Debra Nicolson, has secured a place on the party’s Highlands and Islands regional list for the 2021 election.

She is number six out of seven candidates the Greens will put on the Highlands and Islands list, meaning she faces an uphill battle to be elected.