Local News for Tuesday 8th November 2016

999 goes AWOL
The emergency number 999 was temporarily unavailable in the Stornoway area for part of yesterday, as a BT fault affected the emergency call number in a number of areas around the Highlands and Islands. Police Scotland warned yesterday afternoon that Stornoway was one of the areas where landline calls to 999 were not able to get through, although calls to 101 and mobile calls to 999 were still functioning properly. Extra police patrols were put out and BT pledged to get the service back as soon as possible. The full service was tested, up and running once again by 3pm yesterday.

Read more: Local News for Tuesday 8th November 2016

Local News for Monday 7th November 2016

Galson’s bold plan unveiled
Friday evening’s AGM of the Galson Estate Trust saw the launch of a bold strategic plan to exploit £8million of wind energy income across the community over the next 20 years. After the local community identified elderly care support, tourism and crofting and land use as priorities, there are also needs for recreational facilities, childcare, youth amenities, business growth, digital connectivity and support for education and skills development. The new strategic plan will be supported by income from the three wind turbines installed at Ballantrushal in North Lewis. In their first year of operation these performed above forecast. Agnes Rennie, chair of Galson Estate Trust, described the plan as ‘highly ambitious’ and stressed the need for collaboration to make it work. She said: “If we can secure the essential partnerships and relationships we need to take matters forward, we can look forward to wind energy funds making a significant impact across the Galson Estate in the years ahead.” The meeting also heard that 36 voluntary sector projects have so far shared £32,600 in community regeneration funding.

Read more: Local News for Monday 7th November 2016

Local News for Friday 4th November 2016

Lifejacket rule would save lives
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is calling for a change in the law on lifejackets for fishermen, following an investigation into the deaths of four fishermen, including one from Vatersay. Gerard Gillies, 42, of Vatersay died after falling from the fishing vessel Annie T in the Sound of Mingulay a year ago in October. The MAIB said yesterday that wearing lifejackets should be compulsory for all fishermen. It was reported that three of the four fishermen, who died in separate incidents, were not wearing what are known as PFDs of personal flotation devices.

Read more: Local News for Friday 4th November 2016

Local News for Thursday 3rd November 2016

2016 HebCelt ‘big boost for islands’
The 21st birthday celebration for Hebridean Celtic Festival didn’t just offer a cause for celebration in July, but a lasting impact on island economoy, according to new figures released today. Am economic impact report says the HebCelt 21 generated more than £2.2 million for the islands’ economy and helped safeguard 40 tourism-related jobs. The 21st festival, headlined by Runrig, was held from 13-16 July in Stornoway and was the most successful in its history. Over 7,500 paying guests visited the festival during its four days and overall attendances reached 17,830. Today’s survey, commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), found that 63 per cent of festival goers came from outside Lewis and Harris, with almost three quarters saying they were only here to attend HebCelt. Visitors from Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand added to those from elsewhere in the UK to bring money in to the islands, spending an average of £500 each during their stay, with the bulk of it (78 per cent) helping the islands’ economy. Public subsidy invested in the festival was £120,000, bringing in £18 for every £1 from the public sector. Festival director Caroline Maclennan said: “This new report demonstrates that HebCelt makes a huge contribution to island life in many ways. It is vitally important to the economic wellbeing of the islands as well as enhancing our culture and creative talents”.

Read more: Local News for Thursday 3rd November 2016

Local News for Wednesday 2nd November 2016

Callanish stones centre – bigger and better
A multi-million pound extension plan has been unveiled for the Callanish Stones visitor centre, as tourist numbers swell each year. The popular centre – and the stones themselves – are on the itinerary of every coach tour and, with cruise ship numbers going up, there’s a need for more space within the centre. Now the trust which manages the site, Urras nan Tursachan, has unveiled drawings and plans for a £4 million upgrade which will expand café, toilets, kitchens and the display itself, with new interpretation. You can see the plans on display at the visitor centre, and inside Museum nan Eilean at Lews Castle.

Read more: Local News for Wednesday 2nd November 2016