Local News for Thursday 3rd January 2019

SNH DIVERS SURVEY ST KILDA REEFS & SEA CAVES

St Kilda’s special reefs and sea caves are in good condition; a new report concludes.
The findings of a wide-reaching survey carried out in 2015 by a team of divers have now been published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Almost 90 years after St Kilda’s last 36 residents were evacuated to the mainland, the islands remain vitally important for the wildlife they support.

The World Heritage Site hosts huge seabird populations, including the world’s second largest colony of North Atlantic gannets, and the waters around St Kilda are part of Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas (MPA) network, designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for their reefs and sea caves, which attract a wealth of spectacular sea life.

Crucial to the management of the MPA network, as with protected areas on land, is monitoring.
The purpose of the St Kilda survey was to judge the current condition of the site and to establish a baseline against which future assessments of its special features could be made.

Weather conditions severely interrupted the team’s plans but they managed to survey four caves at St Kilda, returning with valuable data and a collection of stunning photographs, which can be viewed and downloaded courtesy of SNH online at https://bit.ly/2QSoeQ2
The full report on the survey, which found that the cave and reef features were in good condition, can be also be read online at: https://bit.ly/2V8SuEK


CHANGING TASTES FOR CALMAC PASSENGERS

It may be the cup that cheers, but it seems tea is no longer the beverage of choice for travellers with Local ferry operator, CalMac.
Latest figures released by the company show that over the summer season it sold more than twice as many cups of coffee than the more traditional choice of hot drink.

The move away from tea in favour of mochas, espressos and cappuccinos is a reflection of wider changing tastes on board according to CalMac’s, Head of Customer Sales, Kurt Hart- he said:

‘Good food adds a lot to an enjoyable passenger experience. Many of our suppliers are from the islands we serve from Stornoway Black Pudding to Arran Ice Cream

Kurt continued: ‘There will always be a place for traditional fayre, it is our job to make sure it is of the highest quality, made with the freshest ingredients from traceable local suppliers where possible, it is what our customers rightly expect.’


SCOTTISH SHOPPERS URGED TO WATCH FOR COUNTERFEITS

Winter sales shoppers are being encouraged to steer clear of counterfeit goods.

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) warning comes following evidence published by KPMG which revealed that over the last two years, 39 cases of counterfeit and pirated goods have been prosecuted.

Aligning with the consensus across various authorities in Scotland including Police Scotland and Border Forces, illicit trade is becoming an increasingly damaging problem.

Gary Ritchie, of SBRC believes consumers should be particularly wary at this time of year and realise that fake goods don’t represent a harmless bargain.
He said: “Undoubtedly, winter sales are some of the busiest times of the year for retail – and customers should simply abide by the old saying, ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is’.

‘Online retailing has made the problem somewhat less visible, without doubt it is a much greater issue now – and the sale of counterfeit goods is even apparent on the biggest online shopping websites.

‘There are also real dangers with these goods, like electrical fires, shocks and burns – not to mention the serious organised crime benefitting from the trade.’

A significant proportion of counterfeit products being intercepted are electrical, such as hair straighteners, phone chargers, video games, tablets and e-books, but also extend to concert and event tickets.

Authorities are placing an increased emphasis on education, encouraging the public to always consider the four ‘Ps’ (place, price, packaging or product) when buying an item. If any of those Ps appears unusual, they should proceed with caution.