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Also in the news / Tug to take cable pipes from Norway, HIAL budget concern and more

Work on the 600MW interconnector at the Scottish mainland side. Photo: SSEN Transmission

SPECIALIST pipes are set to be transported across the sea by a tug boat from Norway to Shetland for the interconnector project.

Two 35-metre pipes are expected to be taken by the tug boat Nadir in the coming days.

The pipes will be used as cable ducts for the landfall of the Shetland HVDC link at Weisdale Voe, which will connect the isles to the national grid for the first time.

They will be secured to the vessel using a wire rope and 12t shackle and ball-bearing swivel. At the end of the pipes there will be a Norwegian buoy.

The coastguard will be kept informed on the progress of the tow.

A spokesperson for cable developer SSEN Transmission said progress on its subsea Shetland HVDC link is “moving forwards”.

“These are specialist pipes that have specific design requirements for our HVDC infrastructure, and are arriving from a specialist supplier in Norway,” they said.

“The components are being safety transported across the sea and once they arrive they will be transported to site and stored for later use in the development.”

HIGHLANDS and Islands Airport Ltd (HIAL) has confirmed it is scaling back its air traffic control modernisation plans due to budget concerns.

It comes after the Scottish Government – which funds HIAL – issued its programme for the year ahead.

The proposal to run airports’ air traffic control remotely from Scottish mainland, including Sumburgh’s, had already been scrapped following intense criticism, but some elements – such as a centralised surveillance centre in Inverness had remained.

HIAL chair Lorna Jack said: “Like many other businesses, HIAL must reappraise priorities and spending options and make difficult decisions based on the extraordinary circumstances we are all facing as global economic pressures impact our day-to-day activities and our future plans.

“The board is considering several options to help address the current fiscal position and decided one of the options will be to scale back air traffic modernisation plans for the duration of the strategic spending review. This aligns with the five-year review agreed with the trade unions in January this year.”

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NEW support for businesses when it comes to energy bills has been welcomed – but more detail is needed.

The message comes after new prime minister Liz Truss announced a raft of new measures on Thursday aimed at softening the blow of energy price rises.

The Federation of Small Business’ (FSB) Highlands and Islands development manager David Richardson said: “Businesses desperately need a lifeline that will protect them, the jobs they provide and the communities they support, for all are at risk.

“However, we will need to see more detail added to [yesterday’s] headline announcements before we can properly judge the value of what is being offered. Shetland businesses need to know what it all means for them in practice.

“Clearly, this energy crisis is not going to go away any time soon, and FSB argues that much more needs to be done by the UK Government to support smaller businesses, including giving them the same two-year cap received by domestic consumers – businesses need certainty and six months is not enough.”

LOCAL arts organisation Gaada is taking part in this year’s Doors Open Day over the weekend of 24 and 25 September.

Access to the busy space at the former Burra Methodist Chapel is usually very limited, so the open day provides an opportunity for Gaada to welcome folk into the workshop.

People will also be able to make and take home their own letterpress postcard.

The doors will be open on 24 and 25 September between 10am and 4pm.

A NEW piece of underground pipeline in the area around Sullom Voe Terminal to streamline how gas from some west of Shetland assets reaches the Scottish mainland has been given planning permission.

The 1.25km link would mean that gas from fields like Clair would no longer have to be piped offshore to the east of Shetland, as it does at the moment, giving it a more direct route to market.

The new pipeline, which could be operational in 2024, is being funded by the partners behind the BP-operated Clair field.

MEANWHILE the Glendronach gas development – which would tie into the Shetland Gas Plant – is on track to be sanctioned by the end of 2022, according to one of its developers.

Kistos added that production is anticipated to commence by the end of 2024.

Glendronach is located to the west of Shetland.

It lies around 20 miles east of the Laggan gas field, one of the major finds that triggered the construction of the Shetland Gas Plant and associated infrastructure.

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