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News round-up / MSP’s concern at Sella Ness decision, health board backs alcohol unit campaign, NAFC students finalists in trainee awards

HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston believes the overturning of Shetland Islands Council’s refusal of more planning permission for the Sella Ness accommodation camp is “another example” of the Scottish Government overruling local decision-making.

Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP.

The camp is now set to stay open until at least 2026, with its operator hopeful of securing custom from possible renewable energy developments.

“The issues in regards to Sella Ness aside, this is another example of the Scottish Government overruling the locally made decisions of locally elected councillors,” Conservative MSP Halcro Johnston said.

“This is happening time and time again across the Highlands and Islands on contentious planning decisions, most often on new housing developments or the siting of new wind farms in local communities.

“I fear that eventually local people will lose faith in the planning system which is supposed to take account of local opinion and the impact developments may have on communities who will have live with the outcomes long after the developers have moved on.”


NHS Shetland has backed a national campaign making people aware of how many drinks make up the recommended weekly alcohol unit guideline.

People who looked to reduce their alcohol intake in January are being urged to ‘Count 14’ in February, and beyond, to keep the risks from alcohol low.

With 14 units the weekly guidance, only 15 per cent of beer, lager and cider drinkers in Scotland were able to correctly identify that six pints equals 14 units.

Seven double measures of spirits add up to the recommended maximum unit guideline, while 14 units also equates to six medium glasses of wine, according to the team behind the Scottish Government’s Count 14 campaign.

NHS Shetland public health and planning principal Elizabeth Robinson said: “It is estimated that one in four adults regularly drinks alcohol at levels which increase their risk of experiencing health harms.

“Alcohol contributes to the development and worsening of more than 60 conditions including breast cancer, bowel cancer, heart problems, high blood pressure and mental health problems.”


TWO students at the NAFC Marine Centre have been named as finalists in a national trainee awards.

Lantra Scotland is the sector skills council for land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries.

Valentina Romano from Brechin has been shortlisted as higher learner of the year.

She works at the Kinnaird Mill Trout Farm near Brechin, part of Dawnfresh Seafoods, and has been doing a technical apprenticeship in aquaculture management (level four).

Jimmy Dakin from Sandy in Orkney has been shortlisted in the aquaculture learner of the year category.

He works for Scottish Sea Farms in Orkney and has been doing a modern apprenticeship in aquaculture (level three).

Stuart Fitzsimmons, NAFC’s section leader for aquaculture training, said that “their nominations for these prestigious national awards are well-deserved and reflect the hard work and commitment that they have displayed throughout their training”.