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Also in the news / Scatsta update, fishing, drama festival and more…

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ENERGY company Statkraft has finally confirmed publicly that it is planning hydrogen production at Scatsta.

Last year Shetland Islands Council confirmed it has entered into talks with Statkraft and partners Aker and Mainstream Renewable Power about developing the former airport site for future energy production.

This week Statkraft principal project manager Stuart Marley said: “We’re making good progress towards agreeing heads of terms with Shetlands Islands Council for the Scatsta site.

“Statkraft are developing project to generate green hydrogen there, in partnership with Aker, and we look forward to sharing more details as our plans progress.”

Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water by electrolysis, with the process powered by renewable sources such as wind.

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has welcomed the opening of a consultation by the government which could mitigate or reverse planned medical certificate requirements for fishermen.

Following “extensive lobbying” by the MP and fishing organisations, the government agreed to review and revise the policy at the end of last year.

Carmichael said: “The announcement of a proper consultation is a welcome step and progress towards the mitigation or outright reversal of this harmful red tape for fishermen.

“The one-size-fits-all medical certificate requirement never made much sense but it created grief and stress for fishermen the length and breadth of the country.”

SCOTLAND’s pelagic fishermen have urged the coastal states fishing mackerel, blue whiting and Atlanto-Scandian herring in the north-east Atlantic to focus on more equitable quota shares as they renew their efforts to agree long-term sharing agreements for each of these stocks.

After more than a year of “minimal progress”, during which aggregate catches of all three stocks exceeded scientific advice, talks are due to resume on sharing in London next week.

“Zonal attachment – essentially, the principle that quota shares should be apportioned according to the presence of fish in each party’s waters – has to be the prime criterion in any long-term deal,” Ian Gatt of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association said.

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“There is no path to a stable agreement that ignores this well-understood and objective concept, and discussions will remain fruitless until all parties accept that. And in the meantime the sustainability of these fisheries remains at risk.”

PREPARATIONS are underway for the next Shetland Country Drama Festival, which takes place over several nights from 11 March.

As usual, there promises to be a wide selection of plays from drama groups and schools from junior, youth and adult groups.

The final programme will be announced once submissions have been confirmed at a producers’ meeting that will take place in early February.

The festival will be held at the Garrison Theatre in Lerwick.

INDEPENDENT insurance broker TL Dallas has donated £500 to a charity that supports people of all ages.

Shetland Befriending Scheme helps vulnerable young people, adults and those affected by dementia with a blend of volunteer led support services and activities.

Ruth Newbold from TL Dallas said: “What’s great about the charity is it works with people of all ages and takes a collaborative approach to what it does – which is one of our firm’s core values.”

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