Local News for Monday 26th November 2018

The semi-finals of the National Secondary Schools’ Gaelic Debate will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, 27 November in Edinburgh.

The first semi-final will see Inverness Royal Academy B against Inverness Royal Academy A when their topic of debate will be, “Artificial Intelligence is a danger to mankind.”

In the second debate of the evening Gairloch High School will be against The Nicolson Institute A when their topic of debate will be, “Make drugs legal and it’ll make Britain’s big cities safer.”

The two winning teams will meet in the Final, at The Scottish Parliament the following evening, Wednesday 28 November, at 7pm, where they will debate, “Were it not for the two World Wars, we wouldn’t be as advanced as we now are.”

The Final will be broadcast live on BBC Radio nan Gàidheal and will also be broadcast live on the Scottish Parliament’s website. Go to www.scottishparliament.tv for 7pm on Wednesday 28 November to watch live.

The Scottish Land Court has announced dates for its first hearing of the case between Stornoway Wind Farm Limited – Lewis Wind Power’s planned scheme for 36 turbines on common grazings– and the crofters who want to build community turbines on the same grazings.

The hearing is for Stornoway Wind Farm’s Section 19A application under the Crofting Act – which seeks final permission to go ahead with a plan, even when shareholders in the common grazings that are affected are opposed to it.

The townships argue that their case is economically preferable as community-owned projects return 20 times as much money to the local area as do private projects, such as the Stornoway Wind Farm, which belongs to Lewis Wind Power – a partnership of French multinational EDF Energy and the Wood Group.

The hearing will take place in Stornoway on December 12th and 13th.
It will be held in the Rev MA Macleod Memorial Hall on Kenneth Street and will begin at 10am. The hearing will be open to the public.

A survey of crofters’ attitudes taken this month by the Scottish Crofting Federation shows that crofters are concerned about the future of the livestock industry in the Highlands and Islands.

Only 14% of respondents are confident about the future, as compared to 31% who are despondent. Over half said they were uncertain, citing Brexit and the knock-on effect that might have on prices and support payments.

Russell Smith, chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation, said; ‘Those who are confident about the future base their views on the fact that there will always be a need for food – and crofters produce quality, environmentally friendly meat.

Mr Smith continued:

‘Those who are despondent cite the possible reduction in subsidies when we are out of the Common Agricultural Policy and the risk of a no-deal Brexit leading to a drop in prices. In general, there is great uncertainty; so crofters can’t plan for the future.’