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News round-up / NorthLink announcements, nature reserve music competition, SRT look into Clickimin hours, Wishart on ferry funding, electric car survey

Photo: NorthLink Ferries

SHETLAND Fishermen’s Mission’s Aubrey Jamieson has recorded new safety announcements for the two NorthLink passenger ferries which serve the isles.

The move is part of a collaboration between Serco NorthLink and the charity Fishermen’s Mission to mark the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Jamieson recorded announcements for the MV Hjaltland and MV Hrossey at the BBC Radio Shetland studio.

NorthLink Ferries e-marketing manager Magnus Dixon said: “On board safety announcements are an important part of our passengers’ journey and we couldn’t think of anyone better to partner with than Fishermen’s Mission to deliver them this year given we’re celebrating Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.”

MUSICIANS are being encouraged to write a tune inspired by the Noss nature reserve as part of a national competition.

A £500 prize is on offer to the ten winners of the Scottish Natural Heritage competition.

Musicians are asked to compose a tune inspired by one of the 10 national nature reserves in Scotland.

The competition, called In Tune with Nature, will be judged by a panel including Julie Fowlis, Vic Galloway, Gill Maxwell and Karine Polwart, and it is part of the celebrations for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Winners will also get the opportunity to take part in live performances throughout the year, and they make a film on the nature reserve which inspired their music with a professional film-maker.

SNH Shetland area officer Juan Brown said: “There’s so much to be inspired by on our nature reserves, particularly during the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

“We have such an amazing variety of marine wildlife and seabirds in Scotland, as well as stunning beaches, lochs and rivers. It’s hard not to be inspired by such beauty.”

Entry information can be found online. https://www.nature.scot/professional-advice/land-and-sea-management/managing-access-and-recreation/increasing-participation/snh-and-year-coasts-and-waters-2020-ycw2020-1

SHETLAND Recreational Trust (SRT) says it will consider the opening hours of Clickimin Leisure Complex over the festive period after concerns were raised by Lerwick Community Council.

In a letter to the community council, SRT chairman Bryan Leask said at a recent meeting it was agreed that “trustees would consider your request in the future and investigate the impact of opening the Clickimin Leisure Complex over the festive period”.

Community councillors recently expressed frustration that the centre was closed between 23 December and 4 January.

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has responded to plans for free bus travel for under 19s and a call for free ferry travel for youngsters with an attack on the Scottish Government’s record on ferry funding.

Wishart said that ministers “must recognise” that in island communities, ferries often perform the role that buses do elsewhere.

She added: “Any proposals brought forward must be properly ‘island proofed’ to ensure that the needs of young people in island communities are taken into account.

“The risk is that this joins the queue of transport pledges made to the islands by the Scottish Government, that amount to little more than a well-meaning press release with little action attached.

“With the Scottish Government once again failing to deliver full, fair and equitable ferry funding, it will also be essential for any commitment to be delivered by the Scottish Government, is not pushed onto cash strapped island local authorities.”

She said that the Scottish Government had pointed out that some young people already qualify for free ferry trips to the mainland.

“That is an entirely separate matter to free internal ferry trips which are also being proposed here,” Wishart added.

ISLANDERS are being asked where they would like to see electric car charging points as part of a survey to help build an expanded electric vehicle network.

Shetland Islands Council is giving its backing to the Energy Saving Trust survey that is intended to “inform decisions around the future locations of publicly accessible charging points in Shetland.”

The survey will probe people’s current means of transport, and their experience of electric vehicles and associated charging technology.

Chairman of the council’s environment and transport committee Ryan Thomson said: “I’d urge anyone in Shetland who may already be using an electric vehicle, or who may be thinking about it in future, to respond to this Energy Savings Trust survey.

“To really help Shetland deliver low carbon transport strategies for individuals and local businesses, we need to better understand people’s attitudes to this technology.  This will help us to plan out our future charging point network and assist with the take up of plug-in electric vehicles in Shetland.”

Shetland is one of 11 Scottish local authorities being surveyed in support of the Scottish Government’s ambitions to create 20 electric towns and cities by 2025.

The survey is open until 14 March. It can be found here.