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Also in the news / Flying kites for the climate, tributes paid to Jim Irvine, funding for LGBTQ event, ferry concern and more …

THE SHETLAND branch of the Greens is holding a kite fly event at Lerwick’s Gilbertson Par on Saturday between 12 noon and 3pm to send a message to the COP26 climate summit, which gets under way in Glasgow on Sunday.

One of the event organisers said the party would be flying some display kites.

There will also be some stunt kites where anyone can test their skills – such as “knocking over the welly”.

Kite expert and Green member Rod Read said: “The day is also a chance to write your message to our leaders about the climate emergency. We’ll help you write your message on a piece of bunting and fly it high in the sky on one of our kites.”

Jim Irvine.

TRIBUTES were paid in the council chamber this afternoon (Thursday) to former elected member Jim Irvine, who passed away last month.

SIC convener Malcolm Bell said ‘Slim Jim’ was “one of life’s one-offs”.

He said Irvine had been returned by electorate a total of nine times and had spent more than 30 years as a councillor.

Bell described him as a “formidable politician” who was “truly committed to his community”.

Read a full obituary published by Shetland News on 1 October here.

SHETLAND Pride, the organisation holding the isles’ first ever Pride LGBTQ pride event next summer, has secured a £9,900 grant from the National Lottery community fund.

The funding confirmation was welcomed by Kerrie Meyer of Pride Shetland, who described it as “fantastic news”.

“We are now in a superb position to professionally organise and fund Shetland Pride for July 2022,” Meyer said.

The event is scheduled to be held on 1 and 2 July next year.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart. Photo: Shetland News.

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LOCAL MSP Beatrice Wishart has once again raised the impact of limited and inadequate freight capacity on the Northern Isles ferries and criticised the Scottish Government for “stifling” economic growth.

During a debate on Scotland’s ferry services Wishart said the impact of the “unreliable” service could not be underestimated.

“Every aspect of island life revolves around transport, and it must be robust and reliable,” she told fellow MSPs, adding that ferries were lifeline services.

“The Shetland seafood and aquaculture sectors have worked hard to build up global markets.

“Meanwhile, work on large construction projects is causing an increased volume of incoming freight and any delay there could send a wave of disruption along local supply chains.

ENERGY firm SSE has confirmed that almost half of its 2,785-strong fleet of vehicles will switch to fully electric by early next year.

The company has also installed 180 charging points across its sites from the Isle of Wight in the south to Lerwick in the north for its employees to use.

Simon Gray, head of fleet and travel for SSE plc, said the company was well on its way to making electric vehicles the new normal by 2030.

“Our networks business, SSEN, has committed to invest in its network infrastructure to support 10 million EVs on GB roads by 2030,” he said.

“But as one of the largest fleet operators in the UK we must also lead by example and show the way on the EV journey.”

SNP Highlands and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has highlighted the need for extra funding for social housing providers in Scotland’s islands to assist them in meeting new building standards introduced in the last session of parliament.

Social housing providers are now required to supply sprinkler systems to all homes they manage – a regulation which comes with extra cost for housing associations.

The mains water pressure in Orkney and Shetland is not high enough to meet the standard on its own, so water tanks must be installed nearby each development in order to create a pressure which fulfils the new legal requirement.

“The welcome introduction of these new fire safety regulations should not mean island social housing providers – who are working hard to make sure their buildings are up to standard and their tenants kept safe – are short-changed,” she said.

“I was delighted to hear from the Cabinet Secretary that the Scottish Government will provide the necessary funding to social housing suppliers to meet these regulations where necessary.”

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