District News, January 28 2022

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Talking about smocking at SWI meeting

The first ‘proper’ meeting of the Bellochantuy branch of the Scottish Women’s Institute took place at a new venue and a new time earlier this month.

The ladies gathered at A’Chleit Church Hall at 2pm on Saturday January 15 and, after a short business discussion, secretary Libby Kerr demonstrated smocking – a method of adding decoration to a piece of clothing.

Members were first shown how the smocking effect was achieved and then embroidered by hand. Mrs Kerr then showed the group a ‘fascinating’ machine she bought in South Africa that does the initial smocking, leaving the embroidery to be applied by hand.

She also shared with the ladies ‘delightful’ examples of her finished children’s dresses.

A vote of thanks was given by Tricia Fair and a much appreciated cup of tea drew the meeting to a close.

The next meeting will be at A’Chleit Church Hall at 2pm on Saturday February 19, with an exhibition of automata and whirligigs.

‘Visitors will be very welcome,’ said a group spokeswoman.


Offshore wind farm deal welcomed by council leader

The leader of Argyll and Bute Council has welcomed news of ScottishPower being awarded the seabed rights to develop an offshore windfarm off Islay.

The deal, as part of Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind Leasing, was reported in last week’s Courier.

Kintyre and the Islands councillor Robin Currie, an Islay resident, said: ‘This has the potential to bring significant benefits to Argyll and Bute, as well as more widely across Scotland.

‘It could increase by 200 per cent the amount of clean energy we produce in Argyll and Bute and make a major contribution to getting Scotland and Argyll and Bute to net zero.

‘It creates opportunities for a substantial number of temporary and permanent jobs across Argyll and Bute, helping our economy recover and grow sustainably.

‘It also has the potential to position Argyll and Bute as a place where new industries, such as data centres, can access a ready supply of renewable energy.

‘We look forward to working with Scottish Power Renewables as this project moves forward.’

ScottishPower – in partnership with Shell – has also been awarded the seabed rights to develop two floating windfarms off the east and north-east coasts of Scotland. At 2GW and 3GW respectively, these will be among the first large-scale floating windfarms in the world.

Other successful applicants include BP Alternative Energy Investments, SSE Renewables and Vattenfall.

Trade union GMB’s Scotland secretary Louise Gilmour said: ‘After the abject failure of the last decade on offshore wind manufacturing, progress will be judged on the number of jobs and scale of investment this leasing round brings to Scotland.

‘There are no guarantees. The list of successful applicants includes firms that have offshored tens of thousands of green manufacturing jobs to the rest of the world in previous projects.

‘This is a massive test of the renewables industry’s environmental and social justice credentials and the last chance saloon for political leaders who have promised a green jobs revolution for years.’

The 2GW Islay offshore wind farm proposal will be subject to achieving all the necessary permissions that cover this.

Potential suppliers can get involved through the ScottishPower website at scottishpowerrenewables.com/pages/machairwind.aspx