Local News for Wednesday 13th February 2019

SCALADALE CENTRE LAUNCHES MOUNTAIN BIKES HOLIDAYS – INCOME WILL FUND ISLAND YOUTH OUTREACH PROGRAMME

The Scaladale Outdoor Activity Centre is offering mountain biking holidays for families and groups to help fund its programme of mountain bike outreach for young people in Lewis and Harris.
Four weeks are available this Spring. They are: March 2nd to 9th and April 8th-14th, 15th-21st and 22nd-28th. Weeks will also available in October and November and each holiday includes five days of guided mountain biking and coaching, with sessions tailored to ability and aimed at improving skills.
All bikes are provided free as part of the holiday as the centre was able to buy a fleet of 12 Whyte hardtail mountain bikes thanks to LEADER funding. The bikes are in a range of sizes and other equipment, such as helmets and safety glasses, is available as well, at no extra cost.
Accommodation is provided in the hostel on a self-catering basis. The holidays are aimed at people of any age, from 10 upwards, who want to improve their mountain biking – or just enjoy it in a beautiful location.
For more information, visit the website at https://www.scaladale-centre.co.uk/mtb-hols or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 13th February 2019

Local News for Tuesday 12th February 2019

COMHAIRLE & HHP SEEKING LAND FOR HOUSING

The Comhairle is working closely with Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP) to deliver an ambitious programme to provide new affordable homes throughout the Outer Hebrides due to enhanced funding from the Scottish Government.
The partners are looking for small to medium pieces of land capable of taking between four and ten houses. The land would have to be within, or close to, existing communities and easily accessible for water and power services in order to make the site viable.
This funding is only available until the end of 2020/21, so the partners are keen to progress more housing opportunities as quickly as possible.
If you have land available which you would consider to sell for affordable housing, please complete and return the 'Offer of Land for Housing Form' linked to below or contact Housing Services on 01851 822691.
Further details and an application form are available at: https://www.cne-siar.gov.uk/housing/affordable-housing/

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 12th February 2019

Local News for Monday 11th January 2019

DEADLINE FOR ISLES ELITE ATHLETES TRAVEL SCHEME ON 15th

The finishing line is in sight as up to eight Elite athletes from the Outer Hebrides are set to benefit from the continuation of the pilot scheme designed to support travel costs to and from the islands to take part in sporting events.
The aim of this scheme is to help the elite athletes of the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland to gain better access to competitive and developmental opportunities available on the mainland.
Eight individuals could benefit in the Outer Hebrides with £1,500 available per person this year.
The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 15th February. To find out more about the scheme contact the Community Sports Hub Officer for your area: -
Those wishing to apply who live in Uist or Barra please contact Kevin Morrison – tel: 01870 603599; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
And those living in Lewis & Harris contact Euan Macleod – tel: 01851 822800; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read more: Local News for Monday 11th January 2019

Local News for Friday 8th February 2019

ACTION NEEDED NOW TO KEEP FREE TV LICENCES FOR OVER 75’s

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant is seeking a review of Government plan to cut free TV Licences for over 75’s
Rhoda Grant said ACTION NEEDED NOW TO KEEP FREE TV LICENCES FOR OVER 75’s

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant is seeking a review of Government plan to cut free TV Licences for over 75’s
Rhoda Grant said ‘The UK Government currently fund free TV Licenses for over-75s, a scheme introduced by the last Labour Government. The Conservative Government has decided to stop funding this scheme at the end of 2020.
The BBC must now decide whether or not they continue the scheme from their own budgets. The cost of providing free licences to the over 75’s will cost in excess of £700miliion.
The BBC Consultation on the future of the scheme will end on 12 February.
Rhoda continued
“The proposals on the table are: 1. - Scrap free licence fees for over-75s. 2. - Replace with a 50% concession for all over-75 households, and 3. - Increase the age threshold for eligibility – Raise threshold to 80 and link free TV licences to over-75s who get pension credit
‘However, I believe that the UK Government should continue funding this scheme, rather than passing the buck to the BBC.
‘TV plays a very important part in the lives of the elderly who rely on it to keep up to date with local and world events, plus having the TV available helps with loneliness and isolation when people are house bound. The over 75’s have paid their taxes all their lives. Is it too much to ask that they get free TV licenses?’
Rhoda has written to the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport asking them to seriously review this decision.

 

NEW FIRE SAFETY STANDARDS AFOOT FOR SCOTTISH HOMES

All domestic properties are to have smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms
New rules to reduce deaths in household fires have been announced with improved standards introduced for fire and smoke alarms in Scottish homes.
The improved standards will mean every home in the country must have a smoke alarm fitted in the living room or lounge, and in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings.
The changes also mean every kitchen must have a heat alarm, and the alarms will have to be interlinked so they can be heard throughout the property. There must also be a carbon monoxide alarm where there are fixed combustion appliances.
The new rules mean the standard which currently applies to private rented property and new-builds is being extended to all homes in Scotland.
The regulations come after a consultation carried out following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in London in June 2017.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP said:
“Although the standards come into force in February 2021 we hope most people will recognise the additional safety benefits and take action sooner.”
It will be responsibility of the home owner or landlord to ensure the new fire and smoke alarm standards are met. Estimated costs are the region of £200, however this will vary according to what is already in place and the type of alarms used.

‘The UK Government currently fund free TV Licenses for over-75s, a scheme introduced by the last Labour Government. The Conservative Government has decided to stop funding this scheme at the end of 2020.
‘The BBC must now decide whether or not they continue the scheme from their own budgets. The cost of providing free licences to the over 75’s will cost in excess of £700miliion.


The BBC Consultation on the future of the scheme will end on 12 February.


Rhoda continued 

ACTION NEEDED NOW TO KEEP FREE TV LICENCES FOR OVER 75’s

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant is seeking a review of Government plan to cut free TV Licences for over 75’s
Rhoda Grant said ACTION NEEDED NOW TO KEEP FREE TV LICENCES FOR OVER 75’s

Highlands & Islands Regional MSP Rhoda Grant is seeking a review of Government plan to cut free TV Licences for over 75’s
Rhoda Grant said ‘The UK Government currently fund free TV Licenses for over-75s, a scheme introduced by the last Labour Government. The Conservative Government has decided to stop funding this scheme at the end of 2020.
The BBC must now decide whether or not they continue the scheme from their own budgets. The cost of providing free licences to the over 75’s will cost in excess of £700miliion.
The BBC Consultation on the future of the scheme will end on 12 February.
Rhoda continued
“The proposals on the table are: 1. - Scrap free licence fees for over-75s. 2. - Replace with a 50% concession for all over-75 households, and 3. - Increase the age threshold for eligibility – Raise threshold to 80 and link free TV licences to over-75s who get pension credit
‘However, I believe that the UK Government should continue funding this scheme, rather than passing the buck to the BBC.
‘TV plays a very important part in the lives of the elderly who rely on it to keep up to date with local and world events, plus having the TV available helps with loneliness and isolation when people are house bound. The over 75’s have paid their taxes all their lives. Is it too much to ask that they get free TV licenses?’
Rhoda has written to the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport asking them to seriously review this decision.

 

NEW FIRE SAFETY STANDARDS AFOOT FOR SCOTTISH HOMES

All domestic properties are to have smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms
New rules to reduce deaths in household fires have been announced with improved standards introduced for fire and smoke alarms in Scottish homes.
The improved standards will mean every home in the country must have a smoke alarm fitted in the living room or lounge, and in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings.
The changes also mean every kitchen must have a heat alarm, and the alarms will have to be interlinked so they can be heard throughout the property. There must also be a carbon monoxide alarm where there are fixed combustion appliances.
The new rules mean the standard which currently applies to private rented property and new-builds is being extended to all homes in Scotland.
The regulations come after a consultation carried out following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in London in June 2017.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP said:
“Although the standards come into force in February 2021 we hope most people will recognise the additional safety benefits and take action sooner.”
It will be responsibility of the home owner or landlord to ensure the new fire and smoke alarm standards are met. Estimated costs are the region of £200, however this will vary according to what is already in place and the type of alarms used.

‘The UK Government currently fund free TV Licenses for over-75s, a scheme introduced by the last Labour Government. The Conservative Government has decided to stop funding this scheme at the end of 2020.
‘The BBC must now decide whether or not they continue the scheme from their own budgets. The cost of providing free licences to the over 75’s will cost in excess of £700miliion.


The BBC Consultation on the future of the scheme will end on 12 February.


Rhoda continued “The proposals on the table are: 1. - Scrap free licence fees for over-75s. 2. - Replace with a 50% concession for all over-75 households, and 3. - Increase the age threshold for eligibility – Raise threshold to 80 and link free TV licences to over-75s who get pension credit
‘However, I believe that the UK Government should continue funding this scheme, rather than passing the buck to the BBC.
‘TV plays a very important part in the lives of the elderly who rely on it to keep up to date with local and world events, plus having the TV available helps with loneliness and isolation when people are house bound. The over 75’s have paid their taxes all their lives. Is it too much to ask that they get free TV licenses?’
Rhoda has written to the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport asking them to seriously review this decision.

Read more: Local News for Friday 8th February 2019

Local News for Thursday 7th February 2019

UTILITA APPOINTED AS HEBRIDES ENERGY NEW PARTNER

Partners in the Hebrides Energy Company are keen to ensure that local customers are on the best possible deal for them following the transfer of Our Power customers, including those who had signed up to Hebrides Energy tariffs, to Utilita as of 31st January.
Hebrides Energy partners have been in contact with Utilita seeking a continuation of the competitive tariffs Our Power had offered. However, given the rise in electricity prices, it is probable that customers will be placed on a tariff that is more expensive than what had been available through Our Power. Over the next few days, customers should receive a welcome pack from Utilita confirming what tariff they have been placed on. It would be advisable to review if that is the best possible deal for you as a household, as switching to an alternative provider may be a good option.
For customers on standard meters, you can look at what is available on the market at the moment via the Tighean Innse Gall’s Switch platform https://switch.tighean.co.uk/
Customers on Total Heat Total Control should compare the Utilita tariff with what is currently available from SSE. These do not appear on any switching sites but will be featured on the SSE website or by calling them directly.
If you need further assistance and advice on switching your energy supplier, you can contact Tighean Innse Gall on 01851 706121 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ofgem have published information for Our Power customers on their transfer to Utilita which should answer the majority of queries and this is on the Ofgem website. Any queries regarding individual accounts should be directed directly to Utilita, using the account number detailed on the Welcome Pack.
HHP will also be contacting tenants who were signed up to Our Power from the start of their tenancy once more information becomes available.


CONSULTATION ON ANIMAL CRUELTY SENTENCING

The Scottish Government is seeking views from Western Isles residents on proposals to strengthen enforcement powers for animal welfare offences.
Proposed amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 would increase the maximum penalty for the most serious cruelty offences from 12 months to five years imprisonment, and a potential unlimited fine.
These new tougher penalties could also apply to attacks against service animals. The changes would also allow quicker rehoming of animals removed by animal welfare inspectors.
It is also proposed to enable enforcement authorities to issue fixed penalty notices.
Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said:
‘Animal welfare is a subject that I feel very passionately about so I’m delighted to be launching this consultation
‘We want to have the highest standards of welfare for our animals, but before we introduce new legislation, it’s vital that we know what relevant stakeholders - particularly those with practical experience of animal cruelty issues’. The consultation page can be found online at
https://consult.gov.scot/animal-welfare/animal-health-welfare-act-amendment-2019/
The consultation period Closes on 26th April 2019.