Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Monday 8th June 2020

COVID-19: ROUTE MAP FOR WESTERN ISLES PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, are planning public bus services for the next phase of easing out of lockdown,

The current phase allows bus operators, to control passenger numbers and keep physical distancing to acceptable levels. The current status allows for a small amount of easing of travel restrictions.

As there has been a small increase in the number of businesses returning to work, requests for access to work transport has been extended, where practicable to non-key workers. Initially, this is on the same basis as the bookable service provided for key workers and bus services still have limited coverage.

Phase 2 recommends that Public Transport services should move to operating increased services, but with capacity significantly limited to allow for physical distancing.

It is therefore considered, that the next step when moving to Phase 2, will be to allow increased access to public bus services, while maintaining control of passenger numbers. This would be achieved by extending the scope of the current booking system but also moving closer to a regular timetabled service.

As there will be more passengers travelling on these services, passengers will be asked to wear face coverings when using public transport due to the increased risk of close contact when travelling on a bus. Passengers will be expected to provide their own face coverings.

Operators will be asked to display prominent signage on buses making it clear that physical distancing should be maintained and that face coverings should be worn.

Although face coverings are yet not required by law, it is being promoted as a precautionary measure for the health and safety of passengers and staff.

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Monday 8th June 2020

Isles FM News - Friday 5th June 2020

SNP MUST BACK SCOTTISH FISHERMEN IN EU NEGOTIATIONS

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron, is backing calls that the SNP Government, supports Scottish fishermen, against the EU demands for access to our waters.
Mr Cameron said: “Coastal communities around the Highlands and Islands will be dismayed by the response of the SNP to this issue. The party are aware the real blockage to progress, is the EU 27’s unreasonable demand, to access our fishing grounds as a precondition to further talks.

Mr Cameron is backing calls for ministers to support the fishing sector and enable a thriving industry and a coastal nation.

Read more: Isles FM News - Friday 5th June 2020

Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 4th June 2020

CROFTING FEDERATION CALL FOR BREXIT EXTENSION
The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has welcomed the research, by the Scottish Government, which makes it clear that a Brexit extension is essential to Scotland’s economy.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is, absorbing considerable resources from all our national governments”, said Yvonne White, chair of the crofters’ federation. There is no doubt that it is impossible to conclude a comprehensive trade deal with the European Union, before the end of 2020. It is therefore essential that the UK government agrees a two-year extension to the transition period with the EU.

We entirely support the stance taken, that the UK Government must apply for a two-year extension to the transition period. This is too important and affects the economic wellbeing of too many people for the negotiations to be rushed to meet a self-imposed and arbitrary deadline.”

Read more: Isles FM News in association with Hebrides News - Thursday 4th June 2020

Isles FM News - Wednesday 3rd June 2020

UIST PUPILS KEEPING PEOPLE CONNECTED DURING LOCKDOWN

The pupils of Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath, Sgoil Bhaile a' Mhanaich, Sgoil an Iochdair and Sgoil Dhalabroig , have been encouraged to write letters to people living in care homes.

As part of the National Literacy Trust, Dear New Friend initiative. The schools took the initiative one step further and focused on writing to a number of befriending networks already established in Uist, including Caraidean Uibhist, Tagsa and Cuimhne.

Executive Head of Uist Primary Schools Anne Graham said:“Inter-generational connections such as Armchair Athletics and Tagsa Sensory Garden project, are something the Uist Primary Schools have developed over the last few years. We know that the receiving of a letter can really give someone a huge lift in their period of confinement and we endeavour to promote the skills of letter writing in every child.

A Sgoil Bhaile a' Mhanaich pupil became aware of a Benbecula lady, Mrs MacSween, stranded in Australia. She was due home in April but is unable to travel due to restrictions. Due to her situation, Shonnie in PG4 decided to write a Gaelic letter to her knowing that this may be of a comfort to her to receive a letter in her mother tongue whilst away from home.”

Read more: Isles FM News - Wednesday 3rd June 2020

Isles FM News - Tuesday 2nd June 2020

ENDING OF THE VIRTUAL PARLIAMENT IS RECKLESS SAYS, ISLES MP

Na h-Eileanan an Iar MP, Angus B MacNeil has taken the decision, not to travel to Westminster, when Parliament reconvenes today. The MP has indicated he is not willing to risk catching and spreading coronavirus, among his constituents in Na H-Eileanan an Iar
Commenting Angus MacNeil MP said: “The removal of the virtual parliament discriminates against Scottish MPs, who are now being forced to choose between breaking the lockdown or attending Westminster.
“The Leader of the House of Commons has stated that Parliament would be Covid-19 secure by 2nd June. We do not have the evidence for this.
The hybrid system that was in place was working well, for remote participation and voting, committees will continue to operate with this virtual system, although the chamber, is not.

Read more: Isles FM News - Tuesday 2nd June 2020