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Also in the news / Bressay ferry, park run birthday, family mediation, transmission charges, VAT on energy bills and reduced car use

The Bressay ferry. Photo: SIC

THE Bressay ferry will return to a normal winter timetable from tomorrow (Saturday) after some crew had to self-isolate due to Covid-19.

A restricted timetable has been in force since last Friday.

The winter timetable for the Bressay Sound crossing can be found here.

MEANWHILE, the organisers of the Bressay Parkrun are hoping to celebrate the event’s fourth birthday in style on Saturday 22 January.

Those participating are being asked to get baking for a birthday cake-off competition to be held at the Speldiburn Café immediately after the weekly 5K run.

Cake entries will be collected by the run directors from the 9am ferry and delivered to the judges in the cafe.

“Please label your cake to say what type it is and who baked it,” they said. Prizes for the winners have been donated by Intersport.

LOCAL charity Relationship Scotland Shetland is supporting family mediation week (17 to 21 January) to raise awareness of the benefits of mediation, which can help ex-partners agree what works for them, reducing the stress, delay and cost that the court process can bring.

Service manager Shona Manson said the charity would be posting a blog on its website each day next week with feedback from clients and case stories to highlight how mediation has helped many families in Scotland.

Emma Roddick MSP.

THE HIGH transmission charges renewable energy developers in the north of Scotland face to feed electricity into the grid contribute to inequality and fuel poverty in the region, Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Emma Roddick has said.

And, considering the climate emergency, she described the charging mechanism as simply “daft”.

Speaking at Holyrood earlier this week, Roddick said: ”I completely back the Scottish Government’s aim to put our islands front and centre of our policy to have 100 per cent of our electricity generated by renewable sources by supporting them to become the pioneers.

“However, my region contains the four areas with the highest fuel poverty and energy prices in Scotland.

“We have to look at the bigger picture, and that includes the fact that we’re paying for the privilege of providing green energy to the rest of the UK.”

STAYING with energy policy, isles MP Alistair Carmichael has criticised the Conservative government after an opposition motion to scrap VAT of domestic energy bills was blocked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his MPs in the House of Commons earlier this week.

The motion would also have seen an expansion to the warm homes discount to help people in fuel poverty.

Carmichael pointed out Johnson had performed a U-turn on his own promise that cutting VAT on fuel bills would be one of the benefits of leaving the EU.

“Boris Johnson could not have been much clearer in 2016 that people should expect to see VAT on energy bills cut if we voted to leave the EU,” the northern isles MP said.

“Now he is whipping his MPs to keep bills high and ejecting the one Tory member who stood up to him and backed this tax cut for struggling families. It is funny how these things work – what a difference five years makes.”

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have slated the Scottish Government’s route map to reduce car use in Scotland by 20 percent by 2030 as “nothing more than a rehash of existing policies” that fails to address the fundamental issues.

Friends of the Earth Scotland called on the government to be more ambitious and bring public transport across Scotland back under public control.

“Without that level of ambition, we won’t reduce car use or climate emissions,” transport campaigner Gavin Thomson said.

Described as “world-leading”, the route map was introduced to parliament by transport minister Graeme Dey earlier this week.

The route map sets out a range of travel behaviours grouped into four categories:

  • travel less: use online options where appropriate;
  • stay local: chose a more local destination to meet your needs;
  • switch mode: to walk, wheel, cycle, or use public transport where possible;
  • combine a journey: where the other options are not feasible.