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Also in the news / Long Covid concern, RSPB objection, sustainable fishing, tidal energy potential and hydrogen plans

Lib Dem MSP Beatrice Wishart.

LOCAL MSP Beatrice Wishart has reiterated the Liberal Democrats’ plans to help the estimated 79,000 sufferers of long Covid in Scotland.

Speaking during a long Covid debate in the Scottish Parliament, Wishart said thousands of people continue to suffer from symptoms such as fatigue, breathlessness, muscle aches and memory loss, for months after the initial Covid diagnosis.

“People have told me that they have felt ignored and not believed,” she said. “People with ME or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome had similar experiences so you have to ask what lessons have been learned from the management of that condition in the context of rising numbers of long Covid sufferers.

“I hope the Scottish Government will implement what we have asked. People cannot be left to suffer without support.”


THE RSPB has maintained its objection to the proposed Energy Isles wind farm in Yell, despite the number of turbines being reduced from 23 to 18.

It believes there remains “significant adverse impacts on nationally important peatlands”.

“The quality of the peatland which would be lost or damaged is such that the on and off-site peatland restoration proposed would not compensate for the loss of active blanket bog that is in good condition,” it said.

Energy Isles Limited director Derek Jamieson previously said there is a “robust peat management plan that will not only minimise the impact on the site itself but regenerate vital carpet bog areas elsewhere as well for a net gain in the amount of quality peatland here in Shetland”.


THE NEWLY elected Green MSP for the Highlands and Island Ariane Burgess has called on the Scottish Government to invest more in sustainable fisheries management.

And she moved to assure communities in the Highlands and Islands that her party understood the vital role of fishing in rural and island communities.

She said arrangements proposed by the government were not adequate to tackle the problems of overfishing, the crisis in our inshore environments, and the inequity of how quotas are currently distributed.

“Today I’m calling for the Scottish Government to deliver Fisheries for the Future,“ she said.

“Across the Highlands and Islands we have communities which are dependent on a thriving fishing industry that will be endangered if we don’t put an end to unsustainable fishing practices,” she said.

“Fishing is part of the fabric of Scottish life as well as one of our most valuable exports and this may be our last opportunity to ensure a just transition to sustainable fishing.”


TIDAL energy developers Nova Innovation and Atlantis Energy have entered a collaboration agreement with the goal of delivering more UK-built tidal turbines in the water.

The focus initially is on the commitment to deliver Nova and Atlantis turbines at the MeyGen site in the Pentland Firth.

Collectively, Atlantis and Nova operate the world’s first offshore tidal array (installed by Nova in Shetland in 2016) and the world’s largest tidal array (6MW Meygen array installed by Atlantis).

Following a briefing of MPs, the leader of the SNP at Westminster Ian Blackford said: “The collaboration between these two world-leading tidal companies will allow them to build on their successes and deliver more turbines into the water.

“The UK government must now match this ambition and deliver the dedicated ring-fenced funding required to secure the future of this vital green industry.”

Meanwhile, scientists believe that tidal turbines could potentially deliver as much as 11 per cent of the UK’s energy.


ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have slammed the Scottish Government’s draft hydrogen action plan published this week as an attempt of “sneaking fossil fuels in by the back door”.

The £100 million draft hydrogen action plan sets out the Scottish Government’s proposed actions over the next five years, and Shetland is included as a potential hub.

But Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner Alex Lee the 5GW hydrogen plan is not transparent about the source of the energy used to produce the hydrogen.

Lee said: “The First Minister spoke last week about moving away from oil and gas as quickly as possible, yet this Hydrogen Action Plan sets out how they will support continued gas extraction and production for hydrogen.

“The Scottish Government is marketing blue hydrogen, made from gas, as ‘low-carbon hydrogen’ but studies have shown that this blue hydrogen actually releases more carbon emissions than just burning gas.”