Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Tuesday 6th October 2020

COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS

Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar’s online Community Conversations are underway this week. The Community Conversations offer an opportunity for members of the public to engage with the Comhairle on topics including the Comhairle Budget, Crown Estate funding and service delivery.

Upon the request of local council members and with consideration for the COVID-19 outbreak, the Uist and Benbecula community conversations, originally scheduled for Tuesday 6th October and Wednesday 7th October have been postponed to a later date. Residents of Uist cancontact their local members in the usual manner to feed views into the process.

The Harris virtual meeting is now on Wednesday 7th October and the Lochs area meeting is on Thursday 8th.Dates for next week’s meetings in other areas, are available on the Comhairle Website.

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Tuesday 6th October 2020

Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Friday 25th September 2020

COMHAIRLE NAN EILEAN SIAR BACKS ACTION FOR ARNISH

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is backing the Action for Arnish campaign and is meeting with Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse later this month to highlight concerns and seek a more sustainable future for the Arnish yard.
Speaking this week, Cllr Donald Crichton, Chairman of the Sustainable Development Committee, said:
“The disappointing news this week that Bifab has been unsuccessful in bidding for the SSE renewables contract off the East coast is a further blow to our local economy. This of course has Implications for the Arnish fabrication yard and leaves our skilled local workforce without any prospect of future work. It further highlights the lack of a national strategy or framework that would put in place incentives to ensure that renewable energy developers use local markets to construct their projects.
Along with the Council Leader I am a signatory to the statement by the Arnish Campaign Group and fully share their frustration at the lack of progress in securing contracts for the yard.”
The Comhairle is meeting with the Energy Minister on 30 September and will be highlighting our concerns and seeking that he open up a new dialogue with the Arnish Campaign Group to address the issues raised and seek a more sustainable future for the Arnish yard.”
The Campaign has the backing of other Councillors, ex-Arnish workers, Trade Unions and local business leaders.

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Friday 25th September 2020

Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 24th September 2020

Bridge Blip in Marine Licence requirement

The timescales for a replacement crossing for the 67-year-old Bernera Bridge have been upset by the need to obtain a Marine Licence prior to work commencing. Additionally, projected costs have increased to about £2 million.

The Comhairle’aTransportation and Infrastructure committee received a progress update on Bernera Bridge yesterday. In addition to costing more than initial estimates, the expected lifespan of the temporary replacement has increased from 25 to 30 years.

This summer the existing bridge was closed to all heavy vehicles, including standard rubbish lorries and domestic oil deliveries. A Marine Licence is required for any projects – such as “construction, alteration, and improvement” -- in Scotland's coastal areas.

Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Transport and Infrastructure Committee, said: “Work on the design and procurement is progressing very well indeed but the requirement for a Marine Licence means that the project could be delayed.

“There are critical factors to be resolved to ensure work is progressed in the shortest possible timeframe,” Cllr Robertson added. “The earliest timescale for completion would be January 2021 -- with this being extended to April 2021 should the full consultation period for Marine Licensing be required.”

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 24th September 2020

Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Wednesday 23rd September 2020

Flu Vaccination

NHS Western Isles is strongly urging everyone eligible, to take up the free flu vaccination This year, for the first time, this includes social care workers, those living in the same house as people who have been shielding from COVID-19, and 55-64 year olds

Also those aged 65 and over, those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, children aged between two and five years, primary school children and health care workers are eligible.

The vaccination programme has already started for health and social care workers in the Western Isles. From the beginning of October, NHS will be offering vaccination appointments to most other eligible groups. People aged 55-64 years will be invited for their free flu vaccine in December.

Letters will be issued shortly by NHS Western Isles inviting you to make an appointment for your flu vaccination. Contact details to make your appointment will be included in your letter. In line with the new GP contract and primary care reform, vaccinations will now be carried out by community nurses rather than by practice nurses. NHS will be offering appointments at a range of community locations near to your own home, as well as in local GP surgeries, to make things easier and more convenient for our local communities.

There will be strict infection prevention and control measures in place to ensure flu immunisation is done in the safest way possible.

Primary school pupils throughout the islands will be offered the flu vaccination administered by the local school nursing team, during October and November. Most of these school children will receive the vaccine in the form of a nasal spray, avoiding the need for an injection. Consent forms have been sent home in school bags for all primary pupils, with parents and carers urged to return the form with consent to ensure their child is protected against flu this winter.

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Wednesday 23rd September 2020

Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Tuesday 22nd September 2020

ALLAN REACTS TO SEAGREEN AWARD

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has reacted to news that the contract to fabricate jackets and suction caissons for the first phase of SSE's Seagreen offshore wind farm has gone to a company in China.
It had been hoped that some of the work could have gone to BiFab – operators of the Arnish fabrication yard in the Isle of Lewis.
Alasdair Allan MSP commented:
“Seagreen 1 is expected to be one of the one of the largest offshore wind farms in the UK. We have yards in Lewis and Fife, which have a proven track record in delivering high-quality manufacturing. Instead of this work being done in Scotland, SSE have awarded it to a company 6,000 miles away at the other side of the Eurasian landmass.
“This is another missed opportunity deliver work to yards like Arnish. There is a pressing need for the UK Government to reform the Contract for Difference funding scheme which subsidises these renewable developments to ensure these projects actually deliver benefits to the local supply chain in Scotland.”

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Tuesday 22nd September 2020