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News round-up / No Norröna update, Brexit cash for port, Cullivoe fundraiser, cycling grant, Babcock sells to CHC

The new Norröna Passing Sumburgh on her way north on Sunday night. Photo: Ronnie Robertson

THE FAROESE passenger ferry Norröna has restarted its scheduled service between Torshavn and Hirtshals in Denmark after being extensively refurbished over recent months.

Shetland Islands Council continues to have a £4.2 million stake in ferry operator Smyril Line, but Lerwick hasn’t been part of the ferry’s schedule since 2007.

Last autumn, environment and transport committee chairman Ryan Thomson said the SIC would make contact with Smyril Line to see if there is a chance for the Norröna returning to Shetland.

This week the council’s development department said there was no news on the issue.

Executive manager Tommy Coutts said: “While the council has expressed a desire for the Norröna to return to Lerwick as part of a regular schedule, I’m afraid I have no updates on this at this time.”

LERWICK Port Authority is to receive £182,000 of Scottish Government money to install new lighting and a fish landing crane at the harbour.

The funding comes from a £1.8 million fund set up to compensate Scottish ports and harbours which have lost income from landing fees as a result of Brexit.

Fisheries secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Ports and harbours are the lifeblood of many of our coastal communities up and down the country. As a result of the botched Brexit deal and through no fault of their own, many are losing key landing fees from vessels and need this essential investment.

“Previously we committed £1 million but I am pleased to be able to increase this to £1.8 million so we can provide even more funding to approximately 20 ports and harbours and support jobs and livelihoods in our coastal communities.”

THE CULLIVOE Up Helly Aa committee is looking to raise £5,000 to build a permanent replica galley which will go on display throughout the year.

Nearly £1,000 has been raised so far through an online fundraiser. People can donate via this link.

The Cullivoe crew is also keen to refurbish its galley shed.

The committee hopes that a permanent galley – which won’t be burned – could go on display every summer at the annual Cullivoe Up Helly Aa exhibition, agricultural shows and “wherever else our Viking travel to”.

“A display galley will help raise the prominence of Cullivoe’s Up Helly Aa, encourage more visitors to the area, and give our volunteers the opportunity to pass their galley building skills on to a younger generation,” its fundraiser said.

SANDWICK Junior High School is the only local organisation which will benefit from a wide range of Scottish Government grants made available to encourage cycling.

Transport Scotland announced almost £1.8 million of ‘active travel’ grants to 173 organisations earlier this week, including to businesses, community groups, health boards, schools and social housing providers to make cycling more attractive.

Sandwick Junior High School received money under the cycling friendly secondary schools development fund.

A full list of beneficiaries can be found here.

HELICOPTER operator CHC Group has announced that it is in the process of buying Babcock’s oil and gas aviation business.

Based in Aberdeen, the business provides oil and gas crew transport in the North Sea and in Australia.

It employs over 500 people and operates around 30 aircraft across its three locations, CHC said in a short statement.

Last year, the oil airport at Scatsta had to close after a consortium of Babcock and Loganair won the contract to fly oil workers from Sumburgh Airport.