Local News for Wednesday 6th April 2016

Dog chips create Bayhead tailback
There were unprecedented scenes on Bayhead in Stornoway yesterday morning, as dogs and their owners queued down the street for a free micro-chip surgery organised by the charity Dogs Trust. After being forced to cancel Monday afternoon’s session due to cancelled planes, the Dogs Trust representatives were determined to make the Tuesday morning session count. Nearly 400 dogs were given micro-chips in an extended session at the Bridge Centre, with pet-owners prepared to queue for some time to make the most of the charity’s free service. Vets in Stornoway have also been working flat out to administer the chips, with micro-chipping dogs due to become a legal requirement today. There are fines of up to £500 pet owners who do not get their dog chipped. Stornoway vet Hector Lowe said: “We’ve been micro-chipping dogs for some time now and will carry on doing so, with plans for extra evening sessions to help people as this law comes into force. We will be holding evening sessions in Stornoway next week, and will be in North Lochs on Thursday night this week, and South Harris next week.”

Pyrotechnic ‘amnesty’ at Coastguards
HM Coastguard in Stornoway are holding a ‘Pyrotechnic Amnesty’ later this month, for the handing in of time expired flares, smoke generators and maroons. The store at the Coastguard Station in Stornoway will be open  from 10am until 3.30pm on Saturday April 30th, when they will accept out of date (Time Expired) units or items no longer in use. A Coastguard spokesman said: “The types of maritime pyrotechnics we can accept are para flares, handheld flares, handheld smoke, lifesmokes, smoke generators, man overboard markers, speedlines, maroons, mini flare packs and signal pistol cartridges. We can’t accept Time Expired Pyrotechnics (TEPs) from commercial organisations but we’ll take them from private individuals and leisure boat users. We don’t have a problem with anyone just turning up but it would be highly useful to us if you could phone beforehand on 01851 702013 and let us know your expected time at the station and what you’re bringing.”
Comhairle’s extra spend
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar is to invest £4m in additional capital spending in the Outer Hebrides over the next two years, including £1m for education and £800k for road improvements. Other projects include £240k for new library vans, £240k for coast protection works at Craigston and South Ford and £130k for culvert repairs on the access road to the newly renovated Lews Castle. The Comhairle has also allocated £340k for the replacement of Sport and Health equipment on the basis that the old equipment will be made available to communities. £660k has been set aside as match funding for economic development or housing projects. The allocation of funding follows a review of the Comhairle's Capital programme with money available from additional capital grant and a reallocation of funding for existing capital projects. Comhairle Leader Angus Campbell said: "In the current financially challenging times it is vital that we use the money for capital projects in a way that provides maximum benefit for our communities. These schemes deliver on priorities whilst providing a boost to employment and improved infrastructure in the Islands."