Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Monday 14th September 2020
MSP’S CONCERN OVER HIAL’S AIR TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT STRATEGY IMPACT ASSESSMENT
SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has submitted a response to the retrospective Islands Communities Impact Assessment concerning HIAL’s Air Traffic Management Strategy (ATMS).
The programme would see islands-based air traffic control officers relocated to a central surveillance centre in Inverness and Benbecula Airport downgraded to an Aerodrome Flight Information Service (AFAIS). The strategy was approved in 2018. The impact assessment, which was required by the Scottish Government in spirit of the Islands (Scotland) Act 2018, is being undertaken by Reference Economic Consultants.
Commenting on the consultations, Alasdair Allan MSP said:
‘Over the past year, I have raised the anxieties of constituents that the strategy will have a negative impact on islands communities with both HIAL and the Scottish Government.
‘The removal of these jobs will have a severe direct impact on the local economy. At a time when the government is beginning to decentralise public sector jobs to the islands, this action by HIAL decision is regressive.
‘The development of air service delivery should ensure that the needs of the communities at the heart of policy. I hope that this first-ever impact assessment under the Islands Act will mitigate the negative impacts which ATMS may cause.’
MP PUSHES FOR ISLES SUBSTATION UPGRADES
Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil is pushing for progress in the renewal and upgrade programme for substations directly supplying power to the Outer Hebrides.
Mr MacNeil had discussions with energy supplier Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) who have strong concerns that works to upgrade and renew substations at Broadford on the Isle of Skye and Quoich have been halted.
SSE outlined that the current substations were reaching the end of life and a lack of progress could lead to future problems as the only way of feeding the Outer Hebrides is through the Fort Augustus line which spurs though Skye and then on to the island groups.
In a letter to Ofgem, Mr MacNeil said:
‘These are substations that SSE are worried are at the end of their life and if they are not in use, the consequences for those of us at the end of the line would be difficult indeed.
‘…It is concerning that a risk which would certainly not be accepted in other industries such as aviation seems to be accepted within the energy networks.’
Ofgem have acknowledged the letter from Mr MacNeil and he awaits a response.
DOWNLOAD THE PROTECT SCOTLAND APP
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has urged smartphone users to download NHS Scotland’s new contact tracing app to help suppress the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Protect Scotland app is now available to download for free via Apple and Google stores.
Supported by a dedicated Protect Scotland website, the app is an extra tool complementing existing person-to-person contact tracing which remains the main component of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.
Individuals privacy will be protected as the app uses Bluetooth technology to anonymously alert users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and advises them to self-isolate.
Users of the app who test positive will still get a call from a contact tracer to confirm their details and who they have been in close contact with. Close contacts are defined as people who have been within two metres of someone who has tested positive for 15 minutes.
Sign up is entirely voluntary but strongly recommended for those with compatible smartphones. The Protect Scotland app is compatible with iPhones 6S and above and Android 6.0 and above.
For more information on the Protect Scotland app visit www.protect.scot
MSP PAYS TRIBUTE TO EMERGENCY WORKERS
Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron paid tribute to men and women working on the frontline during the recent Emergency Services Workers day.
Mr Cameron, who also submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament thanking our emergency workers, said: ‘we should celebrate the magnificent commitment of all our emergency workers who have excelled themselves during the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Our police officers, firefighters and NHS workers, are so often the unsung heroes, going well beyond the call of duty to help and protect people in distress or need.
‘Our thanks go to everyone involved in our emergency services, including the friends and family of the workers, and volunteers such as special constables, whose support enable our professionals to give their best.’