Liam McArthur MSP

Liam McArthur MSP

The power outage at Knocknagael substation that led to a power blackout across much of the Highlands & Islands last week ,was discussed in the Scottish Parliament yesterday afternoon.

The finance secretary,  John Swinney was in the chamber to answer questions from MSPs from across the region, concerned at what had happened and the impact on their constituents.

Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur took part in the exchanges at topical questions, and commented afterwards: “The finance secretary accepted that delays in restoring power to customers in Orkney took longer than elsewhere. He insisted, however, that lessons had been learned and that steps were being taken to avoid any repeat of such problems in the future.

“It was also helpful to understand the safeguards in place to help meet the needs of more vulnerable members of communities across the Highlands & Islands. While blackouts can cause inconvenience for many, they can present real risks to the elderly and infirm. Mr Swinney was able to reassure MSPs that SSE had worked closely with the emergency services, as well as those involved in health and social care, to minimise any such risks.

He added: “While preventing all future blackouts may be impossible, it is important that systems are made as resilient as possible and that response procedures are improved where appropriate.  In that sense, Mr Swinney’s comments to parliament this afternoon offer some hope that this is happening.”


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police scotland logoPolice in Orkney will be targeting speeding motorists from today, Tuesday, until Friday in an effort to ensure the safety of all school attendees and encourage motorists to drive at lesser speeds.

Under ‘Operation Route’, the Division-wide initiative will focus on primary and secondary schools particularly in areas where those attending are known to walk to and from school.

Police are keen to remind motorists of the 20mph restriction that is in place around most schools in built up areas. Those caught driving above this could face being issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice or even be reported to the procurator fiscal, depending on the circumstances.

Routine speed checks will continue across the area throughout the school year on conclusion of the initiative.

The graffiti on the wall at Kairds, Albert Street

The graffiti on the wall at Kairds, Albert Street

Police are appealing for information relating to a spate of vandalism in Kirkwall at the Royal Bank of Scotland, the Tree Shop and Kairds, between Thursday, April 17, and Saturday, April 19.

The vandalism consists of graffiti on the external walls of the buildings. Police are keen to hear from anyone who may have sold black spray paint recently or anyone who may know the identity of the individual involved.

Please contact the Kirkwall station on 101, or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

The steel propeller blade which was taken last month.

The steel propeller blade which was taken last month.

Police in Orkney are appealing for information on a theft of a stainless steel propeller blade from a yard at Hatston Farm in Kirkwall, which was taken sometime between Sunday, March 9, and Saturday, March 29.

The blade was described as being approximately 44 inches wide and about 54 inches long.

Police are also appealing for information relating to graffiti on the front wall of the Royal Bank of Scotland in Kirkwall between Thursday, April 17, and Saturday, April 19.

Please contact Orkney Police on 101 or through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Couple Andy Hay (

RSPB Scotland are asking the Orkney public to contact them if they hear the elusive bird’s call.

RSPB say that there has been a surprisingly early start to the corncrake season in Orkney this year and the charity are encouraging people to send them further records.

The first reported calling male was heard on April 8 in the East Mainland. Corncrakes spend the winter in Africa and are in Orkney for just a few months when they return to breed in the spring.

However corncrakes have suffered serious declines throughout the UK and much of Europe. In Orkney there were only 14 males last year. RSPB Scotland is asking for help to monitor the movements of these endangered birds so that their habitat can be protected in the future.

Corncrakes are elusive birds which  tend to hide in tall vegetation and are rarely seen. They  have a distinctive “crex crex” call, which is the sound of the males trying to attract a female.

To report a corncrake call, contact Inga Seator of RSPB Scotland by calling 01856 852029, emailing or posting on the RSPB Orkney Facebook page.


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