Review of the Year – November: Fishermen admit roles in major scam

With Mareel taking shape at the North Ness, arts lovers were beginning to look forward to having a purpose-built music and cinema venue up and running in the near future.

However the charitable trust refused a £30,000 advance from a maximum £100,000 one-off grant to Shetland Arts to help prepare for its opening. As the Viking Energy windfarm remained in the headlines, Tavish Scott called for a referendum to determine exactly where opinion stands on the project.

The Shetland Times, meanwhile, announced plans to carry follow-up opinion poll to a previous survey to gather folks’ views on whether or not they supported the windfarm. The result would, as ever, show divided opinion.

In its submission about the changes, Sepa withdrew its objection to the plans, although Lerwick Community Council said the windfarm was still too big.

The Scottish RSPB, Shetland Amenity Trust and the John Muir Trust – as well as, of course, Sustainable Shetland – remained against the idea, while the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) supported the plans in its submission.

Six fishermen admitted their role in an illegal catch of “black” fish in Shetland. Their appearance at the High Court in Edinburgh followed separate court appearances for several others throughtout the year. Heavy fines are expected to be dolled out in the new year.

Thousands of homes and businesses were without internet and email for more than 32 hours after a failure in the BT broadband link to the isles. BT would later be criticised for failing to act sooner.

Shetland, though, was named as one of the top 10 places in the world to visit, and termed “the last untamed corner of the UK” in the BBC-owned Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2011.

History was made at the South Mainland Up-Helly-A’ mass meeting when head teacher Lesley Simpson was chosen as the Guizer Jarl to represent Bigton and Levenwick in the 2015 festival. How long now before the same can be said of the Lerwick event …?

Ongoing agricultural support from the public purse could prove to be a boon for the environment, according to the Pack report into future support for the industry.

The new chief executive of NHS Shetland was appointed. Ralph Roberts, 46, will take up the post this month following the departure of Sandra Laurenson.

A ruling on plans for a contentious energy converter station at Upper Kergord – needed should the windfarm go ahead – was delayed, after a number of councillors declared an interest and left the meeting.

A new initiative aimed at helping Shetland cope with the twin pressures of climate change and depleting oil reserves was formed.

Criticism was aimed at the Scottish government after it decided to sell off a rare and unique herd of Shetland cattle, threatening the future of the blood-line.

Outspoken councillor Jonathan Wills launched an attack against Sandy Cluness, describing the convener’s leadership of the SIC as “truly pitiful” and “embarrassing”.

There was lingering anger among some SIC members at Audit Scotland’s refusal to publish full details of the council’s settlement with David Clark.

The SIC and Audit Scotland were to seek legal advice after the financial watchdog confirmed it would qualify the council’s accounts for the fourth consecutive year. The qualification related to the council’s continued inability to group its accounts with those of the charitable trust.

All those who had raised money for CLAN began to see their efforts pay off, as construction started at the new cancer centre in Aberdeen.

At last, a launch event was held to show off Lerwick’s new CCTV system. herever you are in Commercial Street, it is likely someone will be watching you.

Lerwick’s newest policeman was named as Inspector Eddie Graham.

As weather conditions worsened, passengers onboard the NorthLink ferry Hjaltland endured a grim 30-hour journey. Tidal conditions at Aberdeen Harbour forced the vessel to make a last-minute detour to Rosyth.

The tattie wars were on! Ian Clark may have been proud of his monster, but a Ness whopper grown by John Polson put it in the shade – although having his four-year-old granddaughter, Ayla Leask, in the photo may have made it look bigger than it probably was!

Young fiddler Gemma Donald won a national prize for a composition. The 21-year old added the Amber Fiddle Award in the Perthshire Amber Festival to a strong list of accolades. Later in the month plans emerged for a so-called “smart grid” promising to pave the way for more small windfarms like Burradale, and generate money without having to wait for an interconnector.

Following the budget, we learned the revenue support grant the SIC gets for 2011/12 will be 2.6 per cent less than this year, a drop from £95 million to £92.5 million.

Fine weather and an exceptionally large turn-out made for a memorable Remembrance Day parade in Lerwick.

Fiddlers’ Bid were nominated in the best live band category at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in London in February.

Farmers and crofters were set to be spared a 15 per cent cut to an agricultural grant scheme, even though some had indicated they were willing to share the burden of economic cutbacks.

It was claimed sheep had destroyed the peat so completely on some Shetland hilltops that there was already little left for Viking Energy to disturb with turbines.

Meanwhile bird populations were shown to be incredibly tolerant of turbines, although populations would undoubtedly be disturbed by Viking’s plans.

Sick pay cost the SIC over £2 million in the last financial year.

Newton Faulkner’s performance at the Clickimin was much appreciated by the crowd.

The third annual food festival served up a host of delights.

Sandy Cluness called for millions of pounds in community funds to be devoted to a major programme of council-housing projects, gaining support from councillors for his idea.

There were concerns for the future of Sullom Voe’s oil terminal when BP began planning to remove water from its Schiehallion oil offshore from 2015, potentially spelling an end to around a third of tanker traffic through the port.

More than £19,000 was raised across the isles for the BBC’s Children in Need appeal.

A Shetland firm run by Sullom Voe tug-men was hired to bring home two new council tugs which have been built in Spain. Shetland Marine was brought in to bring home the twin £7 million tugs following sea trials to iron out glitches in their performance.

There was a backlash in the council chamber against the police cuts. But while closure of Dunrossness and Scalloway stations were rubber-stamped, the Lerwick station was at least spared 12-hour opening.

Hjaltland Housing Association announced it would try again with its application for a housing development at Veensgarth in Tingwall.

Tributes were paid to owner of Swansons in Lerwick, David Johnson, who died.

Several proposals were accepted at Shetland Football Association’s annual general meeting, including changing the way the county manager is appointed. In future, the manager will be appointed rather than elected.

The decision came after incumbent manager John Jamieson stood down, citing work commitments as the reason behind his decision.

There were big wins in the netball league for Team Rowley, who beat Kinetics in Division One 50-27, and Loungers, who walked away with a 52-17 victory against Wastside.

Shetland Swimming Association’s Championship at the Clickimin was dominated by Megan Petursdottir and Felix Gifford, who both completed a clean sweep of events in their respective age-groups.


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