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Also in the news / Auditor’s concern, environmental warning, deadline for EU citizens, call to ‘get out’, air tightness tests and much more

Redevelopment of the Knab site is a key part of the SIC's plan to tackle a housing shortage in the isles.

THE COST of the first stage of the Knab redevelopment project at the old Anderson High School being more than £2 million than first estimated has been highlighted by external auditors.

Auditor Deloitte said in an interim report presented to councillors on Wednesday it “raises questions as to the effectiveness of the council’s use of business cases to underpin decision making”.

“Given the inaccuracies in the initial costing model, we are not satisfied that reliance can be placed on these estimated revenue savings,” Deloitte said.

The budget for demolition rose from £1 million to £2.454 million after more detailed assessments were carried out.

Deloitte said budgets around the acquisition of the SLAP property portfolio and the ongoing merger of tertiary education in Shetland also risked the council’s ability to demonstrate best value.

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have warned that approving a large new oil field off Shetland ahead of the UN climate conference in Glasgow would send out the wrong signal.

The Cambo field, located around 80 miles to the northwest of the isles, contains around 800 million barrels of oil. Developers Siccar Point Energy and Shell are seeking permission from the UK Government to extract 150 million barrels.

Friends of the Earth Scotland climate campaigner Caroline Rance said: “Burning fossil fuels is the key driver of climate breakdown and every extra barrel of oil and gas produced speeds us closer to greater devastation.

“It would be completely indefensible for the UK Government to approve this development, and would further damage the UK’s credibility on climate action ahead of the UN climate conference COP26 later this year.”

WITH just one week to go until the deadline, Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael is again urging an remaining EU citizen in the isles who have not yet applied to the EU settlement scheme to do so urgently.

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Carmichael, who is his party’s home affairs spokesperson, wrote to all EU citizens in the isles last month to warn them of the impending deadline and to offer support to those who still needed to apply, with a number of constituents responding to request help.

Government immigration enforcement officials will begin giving EU citizens who live in the UK a 28-day warning to apply to remain.

But the Home Office will allow people indefinite time to complete an application for settled status if they have a reasonable excuse for delay.

YOUNG people in Shetland are being encouraged to ‘Get Out’ in Shetland this summer as part of a social media campaign between Mind Your Head and Shetland Islands Council’s Youth and Employability Service.  

After a year of being told to “stay at home”, endless Teams meetings and home learning organisers said they were encouraging young people and their family and friends to “get out” safely.

Youth project lead for Mind Your Head Aimee Barclay said: “Now it’s time to encourage us all to find our way back out safely to make the most of our beautiful surroundings as well as enjoying the benefits of being out in nature and having some face to face time with other people.

“Of course we are keen to remind everyone to be aware of the guidelines for our current level zero and stay safe.”

A LOCAL building surveying business is looking for volunteer homeowners to have their property tested for air tightness.

Chartered construction consultant Stewart Douglas said he was undertaking a research project to establish how airtight houses built before 2008 are.

He said: “A recent survey shows many households in Shetland live in fuel poverty and the aim of the project is to establish if air tightness is a significant contributing factor in high fuel bills.”

He can be contacted via e-mail or mobile 07444 951174.

THE SCHOOL-based mentoring programme MCR Pathways hopes to recruit and train more volunteer mentors in the coming months to help young people in Shetland who have experienced disadvantage.

MCR Pathways is a national programme, which established a local base at Anderson High School in March 2020.

Despite the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, local programme mentors have continued to give support, to listen to and encourage the young people with whom they have been matched.

More information can be found here, and to register for the programme click here.

ONE of the UK’s largest livestock auctioneers has been appointed to hold the first ever standalone timed auction of pedigree Shetland cattle.

Conducted on behalf of the Shetland Cattle Breeders Association, Harrison & Hetherington will hold the online auction over a 48-hour period from 30 September to 2 October.

Shetland cattle is one of the native breeds with just 1,500 female cattle left, 15 per cent of which can be found locally.

Entries for the sale are open until 1 September, with the catalogue of entries ready to view from 22 September.

The sale is open to pedigree cattle registered with the Shetland Cattle Herd Book Society, with all animals offered for sale having full registration status or pending for young calves.

FURTHER dates for guided tours to learn more about the war graves at Lerwick Cemetery have been announced.

Organised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the tours will highlight the stories of some of casualties buried in the cemetery.

The tour can be booked via this link.

SCOTTISH and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution is undertaking a six-week consultation on a sustainability strategy launched to tackle climate change and support global goals for sustainable development.

The strategy commits the network operator to setting greenhouse gas reduction targets accredited by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi).

Delivering Sustainability in SSEN is now available online at this link.

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