Local News for Wednesday 24th April 2019

MP HAS TUNNEL VISION FOR THE ISLANDS

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil has written to Transport Minister Michael Matheson MSP to suggest the Scottish Government visit the Faroe Islands to see the new 11.2 km subsea tunnel.
Mr MacNeil has hailed the success of the Faroes in creating a highly advanced transportation infrastructure which includes 17 land tunnels and two subsea tunnels with another almost complete and construction on a further tunnel due to start soon.
The system, which will include the world’s first subsea roundabout, will virtually eradicate the need for ferry services.
Mr MacNeil said:
“The transport network in the Faroes is the kind of system we should aspire to follow in the Scottish islands.
“Infrastructure of this kind would have huge economic and social benefits to all parts of the islands and would remove travel disruption due to weather conditions or issues associated with capacity.”
The new Faroes tunnel will shorten the travel distance from the capital of Tórshavn to Runavík from 55 kilometres to 17 kilometres. The 64 minute drive will be shortened to 16 minutes.
Mr MacNeil has suggested to Transport Minister Michael Matheson that Transport Scotland should visit the nearly complete Faroese tunnel and learn from the Faroese experience of creating a seamless travel system.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 24th April 2019

Local News for Tuesday 23rd April 2019

CALMAC ANNOUNCES SEASONAL JOBS IN WESTERN ISLES

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed the announcement that CalMac is to locate five seasonal jobs in Stornoway this year.
Cllr Uisdean Robertson, Chairman of the Comhairle’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said:
“This is welcome news. We have long campaigned to see CalMac jobs located here in the Western Isles, amongst the communities which it serves.

“The impact of salaries in the Western Isles is much greater on the local economy than in the central belt and I would call on CalMac to give serious consideration to further devolution and relocation of jobs into the Islands. We would reiterate our suggestion that each and every island should have a fair share of central jobs and head office functions including senior management roles and would ask that the practice of centralisation of roles to a Head Office will cease and future vacancies will be advertised on a network wide basis instead of Head Office with a target of 30% of these jobs being based in the Western Isles by 2030. Not only would such a move be an economic boost but it would also continue to demonstrate CalMac’s commitment to the communities of the Islands.”

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Local News for Friday 19th April 2019

ALASDAIR ALLAN MSP SUPPORTS ACTIVITIES TO SPRING CLEAN WESTERN ISLES

Alasdair Allan MSP has joined environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, in applauding the efforts of local residents from the Western Isles who are participating in its annual Spring Clean campaign, which is taking place across the area throughout April and May.
Throughout April and May, Keep Scotland Beautiful will be working with Western Isles residents, businesses, schools and community groups to arrange their own Clean Up events to remove rubbish from local streets, parks and public areas.
Alasdair Allan MSP said:
“I am proud of the actions of residents from the Western Isles who are participating in the annual Spring Clean Campaign - helping to remove more litter and preserve the places that we live in.”
“Events such as ‘Clean Coast Outer Hebrides’ upcoming Beach Clean on Saturday 20th April at Fevig on the West Side will I hope, ensure that the 2019 Spring Clean Campaign is a fantastic success.”
A spokesperson for Clean Coast Outer Hebrides commented:
‘We are always looking to recruit new enthusiastic new members, and if you would like to be a part of this positive movement, hear more about upcoming events, or simply have something to say, please join the Clean Coast Outer Hebrides Facebook group, or email us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.’.
And a reminder - the group have an Upcoming Beach Clean tomorrow Saturday April 20th, at Fevig from 11.00am – 2pm. All Volunteers to meet at Bragar Old School & Bring a Bucket.

Read more: Local News for Friday 19th April 2019

Local News for Monday 22nd April 2019

WIND FARM CHARITY FACILITATES SERIES OF GOVERNMENT CONSULTATIONS OVER ISLANDS PLAN THIS WEEK

A group of representatives from Scottish Government will be in Lewis from Tuesday to Thursday this week for three days of public consultations, facilitated by community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust at the request of the Scottish Islands Federation.

The community events are part of a consultation programme for the new National Islands Plan and Island Communities Impact Assessments, to ensure that the National Islands Plan “responds truly to the wishes, desires and concerns of island communities”, in the words of government.

Children from Sgoil an Rubha and the Nicolson Institute are among those who will be giving their views, as well as friendship groups for the over-60s and other more formal organisations including community councils and community trusts.

Consultations will be in Point at Ionad Stoodie on Tuesday afternoon and evening, in Sandwick Hall on Wednesday evening and in Carloway Community Hall on Thursday afternoon and evening.

Donald John MacSween, Point and Sandwick Trust general manager, said:

“It’s important that groups in the islands have a voice and we put together a programme to make sure that, in the short time available, a lot of groups have an opportunity to feed into the consultation.”

Read more: Local News for Monday 22nd April 2019

Local News for Thursday 18th April 2019

EXTRA 4p PER ISLES HOUSEHOLD FOR 600MW INTERCONNECTOR

Constructing a 600MW interconnector to the Western Isles would cost consumers just 4p more per household per year than the 450MW option.
Western Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil continues to engage with Ofgem who recently announced their minded-to position of favouring a 450MW link over a 600MW.
As part of that engagement Mr MacNeil asked Ofgem for figures on what the two options would mean for household bills and learned that the 600MW would mean just 4p per household per year more than the 450MW option.
Mr MacNeil says favouring the smaller link would prevent the islands reaching their full renewables potential.
He said: “The figures I obtained from Ofgem show a 600MW link would add 43p to annual household bills and a 450MW would add 39p.
“It is clear that the 600MW option is much better value for money as it could boost the economy in a way the 450MW link could not.
‘An extra 4p would allow a link which had room for current proposals and future development; the potential to create more jobs; and capacity for the islands to grow this sector.
‘In this case it seems obvious that the best possible deal is the one which will bring the greatest long term positive economic impact at minimal additional cost - and that is the 600MW option.’
Ofgem are carrying out a consultation prior to a final decision and visited Lewis last week to meet developers and local agencies.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 18th April 2019