Local News for Wednesday 25th May 2016

Former estate owner to sue
It’s been reported that the former owner of the Pairc Estate in Lewis is to sue the new owners, Pairc Trust, for £700,000. Barry Lomas says he’s owed the money for legal costs incurred during the sale, and compensation. Mr Lomas received £500,000 purchase price after protracted legal wrangling and interventions under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act of 2003. Funding support came from the Scottish Land Fund, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and the local Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust, in addition to almost £300,000 raised by the Pairc Trust themselves.  Trust representatives said this week that they did not believe Mr Lomas was entitled to any payments, but that they expected he would pursue his claim.


 
Europe referendum voting
All registered island voters should by now have received their polling cards, as the process begins for the European Referendum on June 23rd. If you’re already registered to vote you should have received a card in the post – if you do not, you need to register by midnight on June 7th to be eligible to vote. The EU referendum on June 23rd asks all UK voters to decide on the question ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” There is more information from the campaigns to remain in the EU and to leave the EU on two websites: www.strongerin.co.uk and www.voteleavetakecontrol.org
 
Machair home for threatened bird
The machair lands of the Western Isles could be providing a last refuge for a bird chased from most of its habitat by human activity, according to RSPB Scotland. There are just 90 pairs of Little Terns in the Western Isles, but the availability of undisturbed machair is offering hope for breeding, while their traditional sandy beach nesting grounds are invaded by holidaymakers, dogs and walkers. Little terns lay eggs in a shallow scrape in the ground, and they are vulnerable to accidental damage. The RSPB plans to work with crofters to identify nests and take steps to avoid damage to them until the young have fledged.
 
Big cruise week continues
The cruise ship Silver Explorer brought 130 adventurous passengers into Stornoway harbour yesterday, benefiting from fine sunny weather as they disembarked from the ice-class expedition vessel. The bumper week of visitors continues today when the Astoria will be moored in the outer anchorage. Astoria was previously named Azores and has been re-named by Cruise and Maritime voyages this season. She’s a small cruise liner, with space for 550 passengers on child-free cruises. On Friday we expect two cruise liners in port – the regular visitor Hebridean Princess and the Corinthian, another five-star luxury passenger ship carrying just 100 guests in 50 suites.