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Also in the news / Metals in the burn, Grant moves on, NorthLink booking, ADS for businesses

The Burn of Lunklet. Photo © Richard Webb (cc-by-sa/2.0)

MITIGATION work has been undertaken after an increase in metals/minerals was recorded in water in the Burn of Lunklet during the Viking Energy wind farm construction.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has been informed.

In a statement issued to Shetland News on Tuesday this week, a spokesperson for developer SSE Renewables said: “During ongoing WQM [water quality monitoring], which is conducted right across the VEWF [Viking Energy Wind Farm] site, there have been two moderate spikes observed in the presence of certain minerals/metals in the Red Burn which then forms part of the catchment for the Burn of Lunklet.

“Exposure of a seam of rock and a fissure containing water has led to hydro chemical oxidation resulting in a slight drop in pH and an increase in certain metals/minerals detected in water sample points in the Burn of Lunklet.

“Immediate mitigation was introduced to rectify this, by redirecting water exiting the borrow pit and filtering it through beds of crushed limestone to raise its pH.

“This is aimed at neutralising the modest spikes in measured acidity and thereby checking any related suspension of additional minerals in the water. 

“Final rock processing scheduled for the borrow pit will also be aimed at permanently capping off any direct water flows into the Red Burn’s catchment system.

“The borrow pit is due for final reinstatement early in 2023, (the first of five to be comprehensively reinstated) and this will permanently seal the rock faces, preventing any further oxidisation and, consequently, permanently bring the measured pH of the water back to established baseline levels.”

FORMER managing director of Grieg Seafood Shetland Grant Cumming has been appointed as the company’s new chief operating officer for its North American operations.

Cumming was appointed to lead the Shetland operation of Norwegian Grieg Seafood six years ago.

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Last year, Grieg’s interests were sold to main rival on the isles, Scottish Sea Farms, in a £164 million deal.

Brought up in Orkney, the 51-year-old old started his fish farming career in Shetland as a lecturer at the NAFC Marine Centre back in 2000.

Grieg Seafood ASA chief executive Andreas Kvame said: “Grant does not only have extensive strategic and operational experience from the salmon farming industry – he also knows Grieg Seafood well and shares our values. 

“We were impressed with how he led the restructuring of our Shetland business, turned it into a profitable region and oversaw a successful sale in 2021.”

THE SCOTTISH Government has confirmed that – in principle – it would be prepared to consider making changes to the way the NorthLink booking system operates.

Islanders have complained that they were hindered from booking ferry journeys in 2023, but on Monday (7 November) reservations were opened up through to the spring.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has now received a commitment for transport secretary Jenny Gilruth that the process of annually opening the booking system could be reviewed.

In response to a parliamentary question, Gilruth said: “The timing of the opening of the booking system is set out in the contract with Serco NorthLink Ferries and is aimed at opening the booking system for a full 12 months to provide maximum flexibility for customers. 

“In principle we would be open to exploring bringing this forward to an earlier date, but would need to consider the matter further to assess any unintended consequences this might have.”

ORKNEY MSP Liam McArthur has renewed his calls for isles-based businesses to be brought back into the Air Discount Scheme (ADS). 

It follows a report by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) suggesting that cheaper air travel for business passengers is needed to strengthen the viability of lifeline routes.

“The Air Discount Scheme has delivered long-lasting benefits to our island communities since its introduction in 2006,” he said.

“However, the decision by SNP ministers to remove isles-based businesses from the scheme without any consultation was always short-sighted.

“HIE is right to point out that by making these lifeline air services more affordable; the government can make them more resilient. If they are serious about supporting island businesses and allowing them to compete on a more level playing field, this is advice that John Swinney and his colleagues would do well to heed.”

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