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Also in the news / Last chance to donate, parking fines, copper wire concessions and more …

Enjoying a dip at Lingness beach earlier in November are (left to right): Linda Moncrieff, Glynis Harcus, Wendy Hatrick, Anita Georgeson, Jane Murphy, and Emma Knight. Photos: Shetland News

SIX LOCAL cold swimming enthusiasts are on target to hit the £25,000 mark in a massive fundraising effort that took them to more than 30 different beaches during November for a swim in Shetland’s freezing waters.

The ‘wild weemin’ team of Anita Georgeson, Jane Murphy, Glynis Harcus, Wendy Hatrick, Linda Moncrieff and Emma Knight are raising funds for Cancer Research UK.

Following a sea swimming bonanza at Bain’s Beach in Lerwick on Sunday in which around 70 people went for a dip, the wild weemin are closing their JustGiving fundraising page on Friday with a last chance to donate here.

SHETLAND Islands Council has said it will serve ‘informal’ notices to drivers if it receives complaints about parking on dropped footways, parking on pavements and ‘double parking’.

Since Monday (11 December), local authorities in Scotland have the power to enforce these prohibitions which have been introduced through the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019.

The council’s executive manager for roads Neil Hutcheson said: “Council staff will serve ‘informal’ notices to drivers when a complaint is received from a member of the public and a vehicle is parked so as to obstruct a footway.

“These notices, at this stage, would simply inform the driver that they were committing an offence.  Police Scotland will thereafter enforce any penalties as necessary, including fines.”

There are some exceptions such as parking by emergency vehicles or delivery drivers.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael has secured some concessions on the impending changes to the copper wire network.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, the Orkney and Shetland MP highlighted concerns how the shutdown of the old style telephone network could impact on the isles’ overall resilience.

Digital infrastructure minister John Whittingdale confirmed that the government was to hold a roundtable discussion with the industry to discuss support for vulnerable consumers.

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He noted that “despite the assurances that we were given by communications operators, we have recently become aware of serious incidents of telecare users finding that their devices have failed when trying to activate them”.

Carmichael said: “The minister’s frank admission that telecommunications companies have not lived up to their obligations to vulnerable customers should give some cause for alarm.

“It reinforces my view that this cannot be left to the market, and that the regulator and the government must take a strong hand to ensure fairness and security.

The vacant Whalsay police station.

THE FORMER police station in Whalsay is still for sale and could now be yours for as little at £8,000.

The station is one in a list of 16 police stations from across the country that are already vacant and for sale.

Police Scotland has today (Thursday) launched a consultation on the proposed disposal of 29 further properties that have been declared surplus to requirement, none of which are in Shetland.

The consultation runs until 31 January 2024 here.

David Malcolm, branch secretary of UNISON at Police Scotland, said “No one seriously thinks that this is about improving services – it is a cost cutting measure. It might deliver balanced books, but it won’t deliver better policing.”

Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands Ariane Burgess.

HIGHLANDS and Islands Green MSP Ariane Burgess has suggested that following the CoP28 deal to transition away from fossil fuels new oil and gas fields, like Rosebank, could become stranded assets.

She said: “While the final text of the deal is a step forward, it is clear this has only been agreed through gritted teeth to allow the hosts to save face.

“The world can ill afford more years of inaction. The best time to phase out fossil fuels was decades ago, the next best time is right now. New oil fields, like those being granted licences at Westminster, will be stranded assets in the face of the global shift away from fossil fuels.

“Young people and future generations will not forget the politicians of today consigning them to even more climate chaos.”

THE HEAD of the Tall Ships organising committee has been appointed as community links officer for Swan Trust, the organisation that run’s Shetland’s own historic tall ship the Swan.

Emma Miller’s new post is supported by funding from the Coastal Communities Fund – managed locally by Shetland Islands Council – and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

SHETLAND Islands Council is seeking views on proposals to amend regulations to allow plunge dipping of sheep imported to Shetland as a treatment for sheep scab.

Crofters, farmers and anyone with sheep in Shetland are encouraged to respond to the consultation, ahead of proposed changes to the legislation.

The changes are deemed necessary in response to increased risk of introduction of sheep scab to Shetland, with rising cases of sheep scab in the rest of the UK.

Two public meetings to discuss the proposals have been organised. The first takes place on Tuesday 9 January at 7pm in the SLMG Café at Staney Hill, Lerwick, with another session in the Mid Yell Hall on Thursday 11 January at 5.30pm.

The consultation can be found online here.

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