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.”


Council Services Public Meetings Online

The Comhairle reminds the public that the upcoming round of “Community Conversations” on local spending and services will be conducted online. The virtual meetings will start on Monday the 5th of October for Stornoway wards.

Subsequent dates include Tuesday the 6th for Barra and South Uist, Wednesday the 7th for Benbecula and North Uist. The full schedule can be seen on the Comhairle’s website

Residents who would like to participate should register by sending an email to <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> including their name, address, and any questions or comments. The Comhairle will send out a link to everyone registered on the day of meetings.

The deadline for registration is Monday 5th October at noon.


Iolaire Memorial repairs Needed

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is looking at options for repairs to the Holm Point Iolaire Memorial, which was recently found spattered with a oily like substance. The Council said: “The damage, which has resulted in staining to paving slab areas, is believed to have been caused by a substance thrown up by the sea during high tides and strong winds over recent days.”

Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, inaugurated the Memorial on the centennial of the marine disaster which killed over 200 soldiers and sailors in the early hours of January 1st, 1919.

An Lanntair Café/Bar Scheduled to reopen

An Lanntair’s Café Bar reopens Tuesday 29th September with new catering partners – Elior – new furniture, and new commissioned artworks from four Western Isles artists: Alice Macmillan, Mhairi Law, Jonathan Macdonald, and Bronwyn MacKenzie

In the bar area, a photographic triptych, The Edge of Blue, was created by Mhairi Law, of the Island Darkroom in Achmore. Lanntair’s dining area is now graced by a work from artist and printmaker Alice Macmillan depicting the wilds of St Kilda with gannets plunging into the waters below sea stacks.

Catering operators Elior offer a new cake range, freshly brewed barista coffee, and a range of dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients.