Local News for Tuesday 22nd May 2018

Bike counter starts tally
A Danish-style digital cycle counter installed in Stornoway last week is generating social media debate, with many lamenting the ‘waste of money’ while others comment on its accuracy. The counter, fixed on Bayhead to count cycles as they leave the town centre via that route, is described as the first of its kind and has been installed by Sustrans with grant funding from the Scottish Government. The high-visibility digital display will allow people to see the total number of cyclists that have passed the counter on that day and over the course of the past year. There are 14 across Scotland, which relay information to a master display displaying the counts outside the Scottish Government's Victoria Quay office in Leith, Edinburgh. The network is part of a cycling action plan which is aimed at encouraging people to make 10% of all trips by bike by 2020. Sustrans Scotland has worked with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to install the cycle counter in Stornoway. Danish cycle counter experts, Falco, supplied and oversaw their installation.

Awards for Young Crofters
Young crofters are to be nominated for two new awards celebrating the Year of Young People in 2018. The awards will celebrate the role of young people in crofting and will be made at a dinner in October at Rothes, Moray. Nominations are invited for two awards: best crofting newcomer for a 16 to 25-year-old with a keen interest in the land, who has attended training courses as well as made a start in crofting. The Euan MacRae Best Crofting Newcomer Award is named in memory of a keen young crofter who sadly passed away aged 20. Meanwhile the young crofter of the year award will go to someone aged under 40 who has taken first steps on the crofting ladder or has become established in crofting, a good example of best practice and success within their field. Applications and nominations can be made by downloading the form at www.crofting.org/croftspirit

RBS ‘clogs ferry’
The Royal Bank of Scotland has been accused of ‘clogging up’ the ferry service to Barra after trialling their mobile banking van, ahead of threatened closure of the RBS branch in Castlebay. Isles MP Angus MacNeil, who is a Barra resident, said the van takes up valuable deck space on the Sound of Barra ferry. He said: “Our ferries are very busy owing to the success of RET and the efforts that have been made to attract people to the islands. However, we do need every inch of deck space on the ferries. RBS needlessly sending a van to Barra is using up valuable deck space, inevitably people will be left behind because of RBS ill-conceived closure plans, which is bad for our island economy. Using a ferry is simply not the answer. What would be helpful would be to keep the Castlebay branch open and Lochboisdale open as normal. Instead of this RBS are giving us a sub-standard service and clogging ferries which are our arteries of commerce. John Glen MP the Economic Secretary to HM Treasury will certainly be made aware of this when he visits in August.”