Local News for Wednesday 11th July 2018

Islands Bill becomes law
The Islands Bill has received Royal Assent and become an Act of the Scottish Parliament. The Queen has added her signature to the Bill, marking the moment that it became part of the legislation in force in Scotland. This has been hailed as a landmark achievement for the councils in Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.
The Bill was a key aim of the Our Islands Our Future campaign led by the three local authorities, which are working together to secure more decision making at a local level and greater economic prosperity for their communities.
It paves the way for measures that allow a further devolution of powers for island communities. It will also enable the 'island proofing' of existing as well as future policies and legislation, ensuring that these take into account the special circumstances of island communities - and do not disadvantage people living and working in the islands.
Roddie Mackay, Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said:

"This is an important, historical time for our islands and indeed, for all of Scotland's islands. This has been a pioneering process that will result in real, practical benefits for our communities. It is also a major step forward in empowering the people that live and work on Scotland's Islands.
Securing investment is the focus for the next phase of collaboration, with the councils working together to win support from the UK and Scottish Governments for the Islands Deal initiative.

Routine Test of SGN Warning Siren
Residents of Stornoway and outlying areas are advised that a routine test of the Scottish Gas Network warning siren will take place tomorrow, Thursday 12th July commencing at 10.00am over a duration of no more than one hour. Both the “Warning Alarm” and the “All Clear” will be tested a number of times, for a maximum duration of three minutes each time.
Scotland Gas Networks (SGN) is the operator of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Storage Site in Sandwick Road. The site is subject to the requirements of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 as a result of the maximum quantity of LPG stored on site.
SGN have installed a warning siren, which would be used to warn members of the public of an incident that has potential to effect people outside of the site.
In order to ensure that the public continue to be familiar with the siren it is tested every six months. However, the public should note that any arrangements will be advised in advance by letter. Unless you have been informed of the date and time of a test you should assume any sounding of the siren is to notify you of a real incident taking place.

Energy Company EDF Announce Second Price Increase in Four Months
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has responded to the latest price rises by EDF.
CAS energy spokesman Craig Salter says,
“Two price increases in four months will come as a major blow to households who are struggling to pay their energy bills. Spiralling energy costs are driving fuel poverty, and those who are least able to pay are being hit the hardest.
“With so many price rises coming from all suppliers, it’s easy for people to become numb to these dramatic increases – particularly with the hot weather and many people not needing to turn on their heating at the moment. But it is important that consumers are made aware of these increases, and are encouraged to shop around and switch to cheaper deals.
“Those using Prepayment meters also run the risk of falling into debt over the summer if they do not top up their meter. People who need support can visit their local Citizens Advice Bureau or contact our Consumer Advice service online.