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Tesco has confirmed that their staff in Orkney will be unaffected by the recent store cuts made throughout the country.

The company announced this month that their performance as a business had fallen “significantly short”  and that, as a result, it would be closing 43 unprofitable stores and paying off staff.

 

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has met with senior representatives of the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service to discuss plans aimed at addressing problems of recruitment and retention of crews in retained stations across the country, including in the islands.

The meeting took place ahead of a planned visit to Orkney in the spring to undertake detailed consultations with local communities.

Mr McArthur said: “For some time now, I have been highlighting the need to do more to maintain capacity in retained fire stations within Orkney.  The situation in some of our smaller islands is particularly acute, although the reasons for this often vary from community to community.

“I was encouraged to hear what assistant chief officer Murray had to say, however, about some of the options currently being explored by the service.  For example, it appears that work is under way to review training requirements for retained crew to ensure they are relevant, proportionate and can be delivered in Orkney, wherever possible.  This could ease the burden of taking on the role, without putting either retained firefighters or the public at risk.”

 
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Naturally Orkney — Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book of 2014

A book focusing on the wildlife of Orkney has been named Scotland’s Favourite Scottish Nature Photography Book  of 2014.

Naturally Orkney is the work of wildlife photographer and cameraman Raymond Besant and was published by The Orcadian last year.

The online vote is conducted every two years by the Scottish Nature Photography Awards, which celebrate nature, wildlife and landscape photography in Scotland.

Raymond Besant said: “I am really delighted that Naturally Orkney has won this award.  I loved working on the images, trying out new techniques, observing animal behaviour, and bringing Orkney’s wildlife to a wider audience so they can enjoy it too.”

Winter in Glen Lyon, by Jamie Grant (published by Aberfeldy Watermill), came second in the vote, and Otters: Return to the River, by Laurie Campbell and Anna Levin (published by Birlinn), came third.

 

Police have confirmed that Arthur Gunn – the man reported missing earlier today – has been found safe and well.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said they would like to thank members of the public for their help and assistance.

 

An application to erect a 5kW, 17.8-metre-high wind turbine near Noltland Farm, Westray, has been approved by Orkney Islands Council’s planning committee.

The application, from Jason Wilson, of Noltland Farm, came before the committee today, where members heard there were two objections, citing cumulative impact, the number of wind turbines in the area, visual impact and the proximity to and impact upon Noltland Castle.

Councillor Graham Sinclair said he would usually propose a site visit but, due to a recent Westray visit, he felt members were sufficiently familiar with the area to make a decision.

 

Orkney Islands Council has agreed detailed proposals for the joint board that will plan and deliver integrated health and social care services for the county.

The draft integration scheme sets out how the council and NHS Orkney will work together to set up the new partnership body – and the services it will have responsibility for once it is established.

It is a requirement of the Scottish Government that local authorities and health boards put in place new joint arrangements for the delivery of integrated social care and health services.

A meeting of the full council yesterday decided that the new joint board will take over responsibility for the planning and delivery of social care services for adults and children, along with criminal justice social work services. These are currently provided by Orkney Health and Care. In addition, the new joint board will have responsibility for a small number of housing services limited to aids and adaptation.

The Board of NHS Orkney meets on Wednesday and will hold similar discussions.

 
Alistair Carmichael MP.

Alistair Carmichael MP.

Northern Isles MP, Alistair Carmichael, has welcomed a six-figure investment from the Coastal Communities Fund for Papa Westray Development Trust and has called on other organisations to grab their slice of UK Government funding.

His comments come after Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander MP, confirmed an additional £10 million for projects across Scotland, with Papa Westray Development Trust receiving £179,108.

The project will establish an integrated environmental conservation, heritage and crafts programme for Papay through the creation of direct jobs, benefiting the local community co-operative, small businesses and wider island community.

The Coastal Communities Fund derives half its funding from the Crown Estate and is administered by the Big Lottery Fund. The Scotland Command Paper, published last week, includes the devolution of the responsibility of the Crown Estate to the Scottish Parliament and local authorities.

Projects in Orkney and Shetland are set to benefit with almost half a million pounds of investment from the latest round of funding awards.

Mr Carmichael said: “In the three years since the Coastal Communities Fund was launched, it has been a great success for Orkney and Shetland. Since 2012, it has provided £815,000 in support for a range of projects across the Isles.

“I am delighted that Papa Westray Development Trust have been able to secure such a significant amount of funding. I understand that they were the sole applicant from Orkney and urge other local organisations to seize the opportunity to get funding for a local project when applications for the next round of funding opens.”

 

Kirkwall police are appealing for information after a piece of plant equipment was taken from a  roadworks site, near Echna Loch in Burray.

The vibrating plate is believed to have been taken some time between 4pm on Thursday January 22 and 8am on Friday January 23.

Police are asking that anybody with information relating to the incident contacts them on 101.

 
2015 01 24_5D_Caithness_v_Orkney_3971_orkneys_james_linklater_kicks_a_penalty_to_go_3_nil_up

James Linklater kicks a first half penalty to put Orkney 3-0 up. (James Gunn Photography)

Orkney RFC’s First XV recorded a narrow 8-3 win over old rivals Caithness on Saturday, to stay top of the BT Caledonia League Division One table.

A James Linklater  penalty and a second half try from Danny Bain was enough to give the away side the victory, in testing conditions.

The win moves Orkney on to 48 points, two ahead of nearest rivals Glenrothes.

Orkney’s next scheduled match is away to Strathmore on Saturday, January 31.

 
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