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Also in the news / Pegs appeal, move towards e-vehicles, passenger figures, mentoring video, new welfare benefits

Lerwick South member Amanda Westlake: "“We’re going to have to lobby harder politically... because we are in a dreadful position here.”
Lerwick South councillor Amanda Hawick. Photo: Shetland News

AN APPEAL has been made by Lerwick South councillor Amanda Hawick for someone in the community to either make or provide metal pegs to pin down wreaths on family graves at the town’s cemetery.

She said she would be “eternally grateful” to anybody willing to volunteer after visiting the cemetery and being unable to secure a wreath on the grave of loved ones.

In the past, she said a supply of pegs has always been available at graveyards to prevent wreaths and flower arrangements from being blown away.

She said she had contacted the council but was told they could not help.

“Visiting loved ones on the graveyard at this time of year is more important than ever before, so if someone would be willing to help here I and the community would be eternally grateful,” she said.

THE MOVE away from petrol and diesel vehicles is seen as a key aspect of the drive towards net zero – and now the local ambulance service has got in on the act.

The Scottish Ambulance Service now has its first electric vehicle in Shetland, which is used by a team leader and doubles up as a patient support van.

As pictured above, it is not a traditional ambulance, which are set to stay fuel powered for now.

A spokesperson for the ambulance service said: “While there are no further plans to introduce any more of this type in Shetland at this time, the Scottish Ambulance Service is committed to ensuring that it considers sustainability in all its actions and decisions.”

They said across Scotland half of the service’s diesel vehicles are already being replaced by fully electric alternatives, while all new cars and vans will be zero emission by 2023 and all new non-emergency vehicles will transition to zero emission by 2025.

Meanwhile NHS Shetland is set to increase the size of its electric fleet next year as leases expire on more of its petrol and diesel vehicles.

“Charging infrastructure is due to be installed at many more of our sites next year too to support the rollout,” board chairman Gary Robinson said.

Under government plans the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK from 2030.

THE OPEN Project has launched a short promotional film which explores the experiences and opportunities for young people who choose to become a mentee or mentor with the project.

The mentoring programme is currently the only peer mentoring project for people aged 14 to 25 in Shetland, and it offers opportunities for a wide range of people who are disadvantaged for a number of reasons.

SUMBURGH was the Highlands and Islands airport least affected by the Covid pandemic with a 47 per cent reduction in passenger number in 2020/21.

According to operator Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (HIAL) the national lockdown severely curtailed passenger numbers and aircraft movement across the company’s 11 airports.

A skeleton service of lifeline routes to the islands was maintained throughout lockdown periods, including emergency NHS passenger transfer, Royal Mail services and support for the offshore energy industry.

Passenger numbers at Sumburgh were down year-on-year from almost 308,000 to just under 163,000.

Over the year, HIAL, which is wholly owned by the Scottish ministers, received a public subsidy of £56.8 million including revenue funding of £36.6m and capital funding of £20.25m which was supplemented by £3.55m of loan funding for commercial activities.

HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP Emma Roddick has encouraged those who are eligible to apply for two new benefits that will become available in Scotland from April next year.

Applications for the Scottish Welfare Fund can be made at: https://www.mygov.scot/scottish-welfare-fund while applicants for the Discretionary Housing Payment should visit this link: https://www.mygov.scot/discretionary-housing-payment

The SNP list MSP said: “This funding will be a lifeline for so many people in the coming year.

“The cost of living, the housing crisis, and the pandemic have made making ends meet even harder for the people of Scotland. No one should have to struggle to pay for essentials.”