Sun shines for little Munro as he meets his weather hero Sean Batty

STV meteorologist Sean Batty surprised four-year-old autistic nursery pupil with his very own weather map.

STV News

A little boy’s dream came true when he got to meet his hero – our very own meteorologist Sean Batty.

Four-year-old Munro Carr has autism and loves watching the weather on STV News, so staff at his nursery wanted to give him a memorable send-off to primary school.

Sean surprised him with a weather map of his own and helped the youngster – who was non-verbal when he arrived at nursery two years ago – put his own forecast together.

Munro’s dad Grant was left beaming with pride during the meeting at Parkhead Community Nursery in Glasgow.

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He said: “He’s made me so proud today. I know he’ll have some darker times in life but for us the diagnosis of autism has been a gift. He’s so clever.”

Head teacher Nikki Black wants children to believe they can achieve anything.

She said: “The Parkhead community really is a special place. Our children deserve the very best and so they should.

“We always look at the area being compared to a deprivation area but for us it’s a thriving area.

STV News
Munro puts his weather forecast together.
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“And we want our children to have the same opportunities as children all over Scotland, all over Glasgow. So it was really nice to make someone’s dream come true.”

Sean was delighted to meet one of his biggest fans – even if he now faces a new challenger when it comes to presenting the weather.

Arriving at the nursery before the surprise moment, he said: “I’m so excited because I’m finally here to meet Munro.

“I’ve still got glue drying on my fingers because I’ve made something very special which I hope will make his dreams come true.

“I predict that for him, there are very big things to come.”


Social care in meltdown: ‘I want to be treated like everyone else’

Kate Walsh lives with cerebral palsy and is relying on her mum for help after one of her carers suddenly quit.

STV News

Kate Walsh doesn’t want to be looked after by her mother but has little choice after her care package was axed overnight due to a lack of staff.

The 29-year-old has cerebral palsy and wants to live a normal life.

“As a young person, I don’t want my mum helping me,” she told STV News.

“My friends, who are able bodied, wouldn’t have their mums look after them. I want to be treated like everyone else.”

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Her case has highlighted the unprecedented staffing shortage that could leave thousands of people without social care this winter.

Kate usually has three personal assistants to help her with everyday care. That was slashed three weeks ago when her main carer, who comes seven evenings a week, suddenly quit.

Strapped for staff, the care provider said they were unable to provide a replacement for Kate, so her mum Jacqueline is now plugging the gaps.

Several local authorities across the country are asking care providers to reasses and reduce support “where safe”.

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The sector is “hemorrhaging” staff and a workforce exodus is expected this winter, according to Donald Macaskill, the chief executive officer of Scottish Care.

Kate’s mum Jacqueline, who works part-time, has now been forced to take on 26 hours of caring a week.

When she called Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership to ask for help, she says she was told they were short-staffed and there was “nothing” they could do.

She said: “They said they’re having to prioritise critical and end-of-life care, which I completely understand. We keep hearing about how the crisis in care is affecting older people but there’s people like Kate needing care.”

Jacqueline says she doesn’t mind helping Kate, but can’t see an end in sight.

“Its an unwritten expectation,” she said.

“If I don’t put Kate into bed, she can’t get into bed herself, if I don’t put her to bed in the morning, she can’t do those things herself. If I don’t who will?

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“The government or someone somewhere needs to make care more of an attractive option for jobs, so they see it as valuable and viable option.” 

A Clackmannanshire and Stirling HSCP spokesperson said: “Social care services are facing an extremely challenging period across Scotland – not just here in Clackmannanshire and Stirling.

“Staff shortages, increasing demand for support and other pressures have created an incredible strain on local services and, like many other parts of Scotland, we have had to review existing care packages to help us prioritise those with the most critical and complex care needs, people currently waiting to be discharged from local hospitals, and the most vulnerable in our communities.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We’re committed to improving the experience of the social care workforce, including improving fair work that we know is crucial to addressing longstanding recruitment issues in the sector, increasing pay and working with partners to set standards that employees can expect to be met.”

Booster vaccine ‘may offer good protection against Omicron’

Ten cases of the new coronavirus variant have been confirmed in Scotland.

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All known Omicron cases so far have come within the Lanarkshire and Greater Glasgow areas,

Booster vaccines may well offer good protection in the face of the Omicron variant, experts behind a major new study have suggested.

A team studying the effects of third doses said the body’s T cell immune response after a booster shot is such that it may provide protection from hospital admission and death.

The study also backs up the UK’s decision to offer Pfizer or Moderna as a third shot, with mRNA jabs leading to the most significant rise in immunity levels.

On Thursday, Scotland recorded a tenth positive Omicron case which has no direct link to the previous nine, the government confirmed.

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All known cases so far have come within the Lanarkshire and Greater Glasgow areas, with nine linked to a single birthday party.

Professor Saul Faust, trial lead and director of the NIHR Clinical Research Facility at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said the CovBoost study had shown that six different vaccines are safe and effective as booster doses for people who have already had two doses of AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech.

The six vaccines tested as a third dose were AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, Janssen (made by Johnson and Johnson) and CureVac (which has ceased production).

“All of the vaccines in our study do show a statistically significant boost… RNA (Pfizer and Moderna) very high, but very effective boosts from Novavax, Janssen and AstraZeneca as well,” Prof Faust said.

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He added that the vaccines worked well against existing variants, although Omicron was not tested in the study.

However, experts think that T cell immunity – which was studied alongside antibodies in the research – could also play a significant role in fending off the variant.

T cells play a key role and work alongside antibodies in the immune system to target viruses.

“Even though we don’t properly understand its relation to long-term immunity, the T cell data is showing us that it does seem to be broader against all the variant strains, which gives us hope that a variant strain of the virus might be able to be handled, certainly for hospitalisation and death if not prevention of infection, by the current vaccines,” Prof Faust said.

He said T cell response was not just focused on the spike protein but “are recognising a much broader range of antigens that might… be common to all of the variants.”

Asked specifically about Omicron, he said: “Our hope as scientists is that protection against hospitalisation and death will remain intact.”

Samples from the study have now been passed to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to look at how well the Omicron variant can be neutralised by vaccines.

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Jonathan Ball, professor of molecular virology at the University of Nottingham, said of the new research: “This is a fantastic study and it’s great to finally see the data that was no doubt pivotal in deciding the UK’s vaccine booster approach.

“The data clearly shows that all boosters provided a lift to at least one aspect of your Covid immunity, and that side effects were, on the whole, mild.

“The data also shows that an mRNA booster – such as Moderna or Pfizer – provided the best overall boost, irrespective of whether your first doses were mRNA or (AstraZeneca).

“The fact that the mRNA vaccine boosts gave a marked increase in both antibodies and T cells is great news, especially now, when our attention has been grabbed by the emergence of the Omicron variant.

“We still don’t know how this increase in immunity translates into protection, especially against serious disease, but I am still convinced that our vaccines will continue to provide the protection that we need.”

The new CovBoost trial, published in The Lancet, involved 2,878 people aged 30 or over receiving a booster 10 to 12 weeks after their initial two-dose vaccination.

Overall, there were 13 different groups testing the boosters or acting as controls, with controls given a meningitis vaccine.

Immunity was then assessed after 28 days, with experts saying that more data will be published in the future on the immunity results three months and one year after receiving boosters.

More data will also be published early next year looking at whether a longer period between second and third doses improves the response.

All seven vaccines posed no safety concerns, according to the study, with fatigue, headache and sore arm the most commonly reported issues.

Prof Faust said: “It’s really encouraging that a wide range of vaccines, using different technologies, show benefits as a third dose to either AstraZeneca or Pfizer/BioNTech.

“That gives confidence and flexibility in developing booster programmes here in the UK and globally, with other factors like supply chain and logistics also in play.”

When looking at antibody levels in the trial, people who had received two doses of AstraZeneca initially had booster responses that were between 1.8 times higher to 32.3 times higher depending on the booster vaccine used.

After two doses of Pfizer, the range was 1.3 times higher to 11.5 times higher.

The authors said these ratios should be interpreted with caution because they relate to immune response rather than real-world protection against disease.


UK’s largest offshore wind tower factory to be built in the Highlands

The Port of Nigg factory will open in 2023, creating more than 400 full time jobs.

GEG via Global Energy Group
Port Nigg: The project will cost £110m

The UK’s largest offshore wind tower factory will create more than 400 manufacturing jobs when it opens in Scotland in 2023, a spokesperson for lead partner Global Energy Group said.

The Port of Nigg factory, to be known as Nigg Offshore Wind (Now), will be capable of producing up to 135 towers per year.

The site, north of Inverness, will be 450 metres long and will cover an area of 38,000 square metres, equivalent to more than five football pitches.

The £110m project is a joint operation between Global Energy Group (GEG), which has its headquarters in Inverness, and Spanish offshore wind tower manufacturing specialist Haizea Wind Group.

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Tim Cornelius, chief executive of GEG, said: “The continued focus on a just transition to a carbon neutral economy has received fresh impetus as a result of the impact of Covid-19.

“The Scottish and UK governments are looking for opportunities presented by the now inevitable energy transition from a dependency on hydrocarbons to clean and sustainable sources of energy, to create jobs and generate sustainable economic growth.

The announcement of a state-of-the-art tower rolling factory at the Port of Nigg is said to be a leading example of the “green recovery” in action.

“It will create more than 400 direct long term, high-value jobs, and will offer our existing clients and new customers, from around the world, the opportunity to buy ‘Scottish’ – meaning offshore wind developers can achieve their local content targets whilst helping the UK economy recover in a green and sustainable way.

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“The facility will also create more than 1000 indirect jobs in the Scottish and UK supply chain.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Haizea who will bring their tower manufacturing expertise and knowledge to the Highlands of Scotland.”

A GEG spokesperson added that construction is expected to start in January next year, with site preparation and commissioning expected to take about 18 months.

This will support 1248 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs across the supply chain in building works and equipment supply.

GEG added that regional staff, historically employed in the oil and gas industry, will have the opportunity to be re-trained and upskilled at the Nigg Skills Academy.

The factory is expected to receive funding support from the Scottish Government via Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the UK Government via the offshore wind manufacturing investment support scheme.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We need bold, collective action to tackle the global climate emergency, and the growth of our renewables sector over the next 10 years will be truly transformative, helping to deliver a just transition to net zero and a greener, fairer future for us all.

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“This significant investment in Scotland’s energy sector is testament to the skills, expertise and innovation within our industry.

“We are delighted to financially support this cutting edge offshore wind towers facility, through Highlands & Islands Enterprise.”

The Now factory is expected to receive backing from SSE Renewables, Sequoia Economic Infrastructure Income Fund and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power.

SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “Today’s announcement shows that SSE is willing to put its money where its mouth is to support development of the Scottish manufacturing capability for the offshore wind sector.

“We have worked with Global Energy Group and stakeholders for more than two years to get to this point.”

Football was ‘quite unsuitable’ for women… or so they said

Rutherglen Ladies defied a ban on women's football to play in front of huge crowds.

Courtesy of Libraries NI via Bigger & McDonald Collection

Football was deemed “quite unsuitable for females” after the First World War, but Rutherglen Ladies simply were not having that.

The all-conquering team defied a ban on the women’s game by touring the UK and Ireland and playing in front of massive crowds.

Led by superstar captain Sadie Smith, they famously beat self-proclaimed unofficial ‘world champions’ Dick Kerr’s Ladies 2-0 in 1923.

Dr Fiona Skillen, from Glasgow Caledonian University, who uncovered the story alongside football historian Steve Bolton, told STV News of the fierce opposition the women faced.

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She said: “Rutherglen town council banned them from playing in the local park at one point, and that story was so unusual and old fashioned that it was reported across Britain and even in France and America as well.

“These women were fighting hostility, but there were a lot of people who supported them. We know thousands turned out to watch them.

“They had to find places where they could play because a lot of organisations and clubs associated with the SFA weren’t allowed to host their matches, although some did bend the rules.”

Courtesy of Dorothy Connor via Contributed
Rutherglen Ladies thrilled crowds across the UK and Ireland.

While the national stadium Hampden Park is now the rightful home of the Scotland women’s team, the players of 100 years ago were rarely treated with the same respect.

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Despite huge crowds at some matches, a ban was enforced on women’s football on December 5, 1921, with the English FA stating: “The game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.”

Scotland’s governing body followed suit, but the sport continued on an unofficial basis until the barrier was lifted in the early 1970s and the Scottish Women’s Football Association was founded.

‘Dark chapter’

A new exhibition at the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden, launched to mark the ban’s 100th anniversary, is now telling the story of Rutherglen Ladies.

Richard McBrearty, curator of the museum, believes the collection shines a light on a “really dark chapter” of Scottish football history.

“The Scottish FA would not allow members to host matches, so clubs such as Raith Rovers and Aberdeen were asking the Scottish FA for permission and being told they did not recognise women’s football – permission denied, it was institutional discrimination.

“They couldn’t play at registered stadiums, so they had look to other venues that weren’t under the SFA’s influence.”

‘As good as Pele’

The new exhibition has also allowed the renowned Scots singer Eddi Reader to learn more about her family’s history, as Rutherglen captain Sadie Smith was her grandmother.

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“I heard from people at the museum that she was as good as Pele,” she told STV News. “I’m very proud of that, but it’s very strange to me because her sporting ability was rarely mentioned.

Peter Devlin via Scottish Football Museum
Scotland football hall of famer Rose Reilly and Eddi Reader, whose grandmother captained Rutherglen.

“The only reference we have is my Uncle Bryan saying that when they played football in the back court, people would say ‘aye, you’re good son, but you’re not as good as your ma’, and they just thought it was a joke.

“They got banned but they didn’t care. I like that punk attitude of just following your instincts and your desires, no matter what.”

‘Football’s for anybody’

Former Scotland international Rose Reilly, a hall of fame inductee and World Cup winner with Italy, said she was “gobsmacked” to learn the story of Rutherglen Ladies.

“I’m so proud to see these amazing pictures of our ancestors playing football at such an early age and being successful,” she said.

“They weren’t doing anything wrong, they were following their passion and their passion happened to be football and football didn’t belong to men.

“They didn’t have the goddamn right to own football. Football was for anybody.”


Social media used as a ‘conveyor belt for child abuse images’

NSPCC figures show production and sharing of child abuse images soar in recent years.

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Offences relating to possessing, taking, making and distributing child abuse material in Scotland peaked last year.

Social media is being used as a “conveyor belt” to produce and share child abuse images on an “industrial scale”, the NSPCC has said as it revealed more than 3000 images had been recorded by Police Scotland in the last five years.

The child protection charity said tech companies had failed to protect children using their services and the only option was for the Online Safety Bill to be strengthened.

But Andy Burrows, NSPCC’s head of child safety online policy, told STV News the draft bill needed to be fixed if it was going to prevent harm to kids.

“We’ve reached the point where it’s very clear, it couldn’t be clearer, that self-regulation is not going to keep our children safe,” he said.

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“We have seen grooming, we have seen the production and sharing of child abuse images soar in recent years, as our figures… underline.

Mr Burrows set out five specific ways that the NSPCC believes avoidable harm could be prevented.

The charity called for:

– More required risk assessments by firms to spot cross-platform activity and disrupt grooming pathways

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– Measures to stop abusers organising online

– Firms to have a named manager in charge of child safety

– More powers for the regulator to combat abuse in private messaging

– A statutory body to represent the interests of children

Figures obtained from Police Scotland showed offences relating to possessing, taking, making and distributing child abuse material in Scotland peaked at 660 last year – up 13% from 2019/20.

The crimes peaked sharply during the pandemic, with an increase of 13.4% in online abuse between April and December 2020 compared with the previous year.

“This is a problem that continues to get worse, and the tech companies just really sit on their hands when it comes to the problem of child safety,” Mr Burrows said.

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“But very few of the tech platforms are willing to step up and meet their clear moral responsibility to protect children using their services.

“It’s only if we see really strong, effective legislation on the statute book that we can see children once and for all be safe and entitled to the safe time online that they deserve.”

Online safety organisation the Internet Watch Foundation published data showing the amount of child sexual abuse material being found online by expert analysts is 15 times higher than a decade ago earlier this month.

The NSPCC has called on the UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries to take the opportunity to strengthen the Online Safety Bill to disrupt the production and spread of child abuse material on social media.  

A report by MPs who scrutinised the draft Bill is expected next week.


Council halts contentious survey on pupils’ sexual experiences

Fife Council has agreed to postpone its participation in the Scottish Government’s Health and Wellbeing Census.

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Classroom: Fife Council has agreed to postpone its participation in the Scottish Government’s Health and Wellbeing Census.

Fife has become the latest local authority to raise question marks over a new Scottish Government questionnaire which asks school pupils about their sexual experiences.

Fife Council has agreed to postpone its participation in the Scottish Government’s Health and Wellbeing Census, which will ask youngsters as young as 14 for information about their sexual relationships and contraception, as well as their drinking, drug and smoking habits.

West Lothian Council has already refused to issue the survey in its schools after a review of the questions “brought up significant concerns”, while parents’ group UFT Scotland said the “desire to force kids into growing up too quickly” was “puzzling”.

One question – for pupils in S4 and S6 – probes people’s varying degrees of sexual experience, with multiple choice answers including “oral sex” and “vaginal or anal sex”.

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Others quiz teenagers on contraception methods and what age they were when they had sex for the first time.

Amid reservations about the “controversial and inappropriate” nature of some of the questions posed, Fife councillors have now paused the imminent rollout of the survey pending further scrutiny from the council’s education and children services sub-committee.

Conservative councillor Kathleen Leslie, who brought an urgent motion to full council on Thursday, said a closer look was needed as to why the survey is necessary, what questions will be asked of which year groups, who will see any data collected and what use will be made of that information.

“The Scottish Government are requesting to add to their already burgeoning collection of data to snoop around what our young people are doing in their lives, outside of the classroom,” she said.

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“Not only what sports and activities they enjoy and take part in, but what their sexual preferences and endeavours are.

“It also pries into whether a young person has a boyfriend or girlfriend. That sort of question in itself is deeply personal and can potentially impact on a young person who is struggling with their sexuality or who is not in a relationship.”

Cllr Leslie raised questions about anonymity, privacy, data sharing and how involved parents and carers will be in the process, and wondered what might become of youngsters under the age of 16 – and therefore under the age of consent – if they answer ‘yes’ to questions of a sexual nature.

“We’re not asking for the survey to be blocked – we’re asking for caution and for us to consider our position fully before considering whether or not to proceed with it,” she continued.

Her party colleague Dave Dempsey seconded the motion, and asked councillors to consider if they would be happy to answer a question asking if they had used a condom the last time they had vaginal or anal sex.

“Would you think it was impertinent? Would you feel you shouldn’t be asked that?” he noted.

“Would you be outraged, embarrassed or what? Would your constituents suffer the same reaction?

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“If your answer is anything other than ‘well yes I’d be perfectly happy to answer that’, then should we be asking these questions of our children without having a very detailed discussion of them in advance.

“We’re not asking it for to be shelved or binned – we’re just asking for it to be given proper scrutiny before it is rolled out to our school pupils.”

There were no amendments submitted and the motion was passed.

By local democracy reporter Craig Smith

Shell pulls out of controversial Cambo oil field development

Shell has a 30% stake in the controversial development.

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Shell has a 30% stake in the project off the coast of Shetland originally licensed in 2001.

Oil and gas giant Shell has pulled out of the proposed Cambo oilfield development saying the economic case lacked strength.

The company confirmed the move to STV News on Thursday evening following what it described as a “comprehensive” screening of the project.

Shell has a 30% stake in the controversial development, off the coast of Shetland, originally licensed in 2001.

Citing the potential for delay and a lack of strength in the economics, the multinational company said it had concluded against investment.

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Siccar Point Energy, Shell’s partners in the development, said it was disappointed at Shell’s change of position but that it remained confident in the merits of the project.

The company’s CEO Jonathan Roger said it would continue to engage with the UK Government.

Siccar Point Energy via UK Government
Location of the proposed Cambo field development

“Cambo remains critical to the UK’s energy security and economy,” he said.

“Whilst we are disappointed at Shell’s change of position, we remain confident about the qualities of a project that will not only create over 1000 direct jobs as well as thousands more in the supply chain, but also help ease the UK’s transition to a low carbon future through responsibly produced domestic oil instead of becoming even more dependent on imports, with a relatively higher carbon intensity.

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“Given Shell’s decision, we are now in discussions with our contractors, supply chain and wider stakeholders to review options for this important development.”

The plans for the Cambo oil field have been the subject of climate campaigners calling for an end to fossil fuel production.

Tessa Khan, director of Uplift, which is coordinating the Stop Cambo campaign, said: “This is the end for Cambo. Shell has seen the writing on the wall.

“Its statement makes it clear that the economics are against new oil and gas developments. But the widespread public and political pressure is what’s made Cambo untenable. There is now broad understanding that there can be no new oil and gas projects anywhere if we’re going to maintain a safe climate.

“This is a message to the government that there is no case for new oil and gas. It must put Cambo out of its misery and reject it now.”

STV News

The UK’s trade association for the offshore oil and gas industry, OGUK, said the announcement that Shell had suspended its involvement did not change the need for investment in the sector.

Jenny Stanning, OGUK’s external relations director, said: “This is a commercial decision between partners but doesn’t change the facts that the UK will continue to need new oil and gas projects if we are to protect security of supply, avoid increasing reliance on imports and support jobs.

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“However, we know that to deliver the transition to a lower carbon future, investor confidence remains essential.

“Gas and oil has a critical role to play in the nation’s future energy supply and we will continue to work with governments, industry and politicians of all parties to make this case.”

The Cambo field will produce 170 million barrels of oil equivalent during its 25-year operational life and 53.5 billion cubic feet of gas, enough to power 1.5 million homes for a year, accoring to Siccar Point Energy.

The UK Government said the investment in oil and gas was necessary to avoid a cliff-edge putting jobs and industries in the country at risk.

A Shell spokesperson said: “Before taking investment decisions on any project we conduct detailed assessments to ensure the best returns for the business and our shareholders. After comprehensive screening of the proposed Cambo development, we have concluded the economic case for investment in this project is not strong enough at this time, as well as having the potential for delays.

“However, continued investment in oil and gas in the UK remains critical to the country’s energy security. As Shell works to help accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy, we remain committed to supplying UK customers with the fuels they still rely on, including oil and gas.

“We believe the North Sea – and Shell in it – have a critical role to play in the UK’s energy mix, supporting the jobs and skills to enable a smooth transition to Britain’s low-carbon future.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “This is a commercial decision that has been taken independently by Shell.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We have said previously that unlimited extraction of fossil fuels is not consistent with our climate obligations and we continue to call on the UK Government, who have the power to act in this instance, to urgently reassess all approved oil licenses where drilling has not yet commenced against our climate commitments.

“A just transition must be delivered across all of our communities, including those that have a dependency on oil and gas.

“That is why we are undertaking a programme of work and analysis to better understand Scotland’s energy requirements as we transition to net zero, ensuring an approach that supports and protects our energy security and our highly skilled workforce whilst meeting our climate obligations.

“We are already investing in the sector’s net zero transformation. Our £500m Just Transition Fund – which we have called on the UK Government multiple times to match – will support the north east and Moray as one of Scotland’s centres of excellence for the transition to a net zero economy, with our investment supporting transformation across the region.”



Call for New York-style ‘High Line’ alongside Glasgow’s River Kelvin

Labour’s Paul Sweeney believes there is an 'amazing opportunity' to develop a 'continuous cycle and pedestrian route'.

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New York: MSP Paul Sweeney said Glasgow should take inspiration from the Big Apple's High Line.

Glasgow should take inspiration from New York and develop a ‘High Line’ route alongside the River Kelvin, a city MSP has said.

Labour’s Paul Sweeney believes there is an “amazing opportunity” to develop a “continuous cycle and pedestrian route from Glasgow University to Govan Cross via the north-bank” of the Kelvin.

He claimed there is currently a “half-baked and badly designed segregated cycle route along Old Dumbarton Road and Ferry Road, massively disrupting local residents”.

The MSP believes the council should lead on the work and his call comes days after plans for more than 400 homes in Partick, which included a riverside promenade, were rejected.

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Developers behind that scheme had said the “desired” route had been to connect Glasgow University to Govan with a riverside walkway, but that it wasn’t feasible.

Sweeney claims that is “far from the case”.

The idea would see the route connected with the new pedestrian and cycle bridge between Water Row and Pointhouse Quay, with construction on the link between Govan and Partick set to start in January.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said the north-bank route is “aspirational” but there are a “number of issues,” including land ownership.

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He added the city’s planning team will “continue to require developers to install a riverside promenade”.

The High Line, a linear park which runs for just under one and a half miles, was created on a former New York railroad spur. Owned by the City of New York, it is operated by Friends of the High Line, who campaigned to save the line from demolition and use it as a public space.

Sweeney said assuming a continuous route beside the Kelvin was not viable is “unwelcome” and prevents the city from developing a “truly world-class infrastructure opportunity, akin to New York’s ‘High Line’”.

On Tuesday, an application from KR Developments Group to build 424 flats for private rent, beside the River Kelvin, on a former railway yard at Beith Street was rejected by Glasgow’s planning committee.

It had been backed by council officers but was refused by councillors due to concerns over a lack of social housing in the area and limited daylight for tenants under the proposed designs.

In a statement to the council, the developer had said the north-bank route had been “found to be problematic due to private land ownership” and a “defective railway bridge”.

They said there was “little hope of a through route in the short term” and proposed the promenade “primarily as additional amenity for the residents”.

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The current active travel route focuses on Bunhouse Road, Old Dumbarton Road and Ferry Road, but Sweeney said he has received complaints about that path from residents.

Both the Govan-Partick bridge and the Ferry Road cycle route are funded by the City Deal, a £1bn investment from the UK and Scottish governments.

The council spokesman said: “There is no evidence that delivery of the segregated cycle lane at Old Dumbarton Road and Ferry Road has resulted in any significant disruption to local residents.”

He added: “The City Deal investment will improve the quality of active travel infrastructure from the University of Glasgow to the proposed Govan-Partick bridge — following completion of the works, the university will be within 20 minutes’ walk of Govan Cross and five minutes’ cycle.

“The connection along the north bank of the River Kelvin does not connect to the proposed Govan-Partick bridge, which will land on the opposite bank of the Kelvin adjacent to the Riverside Museum.

“The north-bank route is identified as an aspirational route and officers within the council’s planning team will continue to require developers to install a riverside promenade as part of development proposals.

“There are, however, a number of issues that impact upon deliverability of the north bank route, including local topography and third-party ownership of land and structures.”

Sweeney said there had been plans for another bridge, crossing to the Riverside Museum, in proposals for a Glasgow Harbour retail development.

That plan has now been withdrawn, but the MSP said a bridge could still be delivered.

By local democracy reporter Drew Sandelands

Ambitious vision to turn Old Man of Storr into world-class experience

It is believed Storr could be a major tourist draw and revenue generator for Skye.

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Skye: View over the Old Man of Storr.

It’s an iconic feature on the Skye landscape and the backdrop to many a movie set.

Now, the Old Man of Storr looks set to play a starring role in the future of Skye tourism.

Members of the Skye and Raasay area committee this week gave the green light to an ambitious vision for the landmark.

The council believes the Storr could be a major tourist draw and revenue generator for the island. Money raised at the visitor attraction would go back into the site, benefiting locals and visitors alike.

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The proposal includes plans for a retail module, digital destination guide, online shop and onsite staff.

All this would be supported by improved transport, parking and electric vehicle charging points.

The council believes this could be a flagship project in developing sustainable, environmentally-friendly tourist attractions.

Skye councillors heaped praise on the proposal, calling it “positive” and “heart-warming”.

One-stop digital destination

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The Old Man of Storr is one of the most famous walks on the Isle of Skye.

The large pinnacle of rock stands high above the ancient landscape, attracting 200,000 visitors each year.

It’s also a popular destination for wedding venues and a favourite with filmmakers.

In recent years, Highland Council has invested more than £2m in tourism at Storr, including car parking, toilets, path improvement and habitat restoration. Now, this new vision looks to the future.

It aims to create a ‘one-stop digital destination’ through an online platform, digital shop window and a fully autonomous digital visitor guide.

The digital shop window would harness the surge in post-pandemic online shopping, allowing local crafters to showcase their art for buyers. Bookings and even parking could be planned in advance via an online portal.

At the same time, the project would include a modular retail unit and visitor destination staff and wardens on-site, generating local employment. It’s thought that having staff onsite would increase parking revenues by as much as 30%.

‘We have a world-class site on our hands’

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Skye councillors praised the ambition of the report, which was complied for the council by consultants Glenmorven Associates.

Councillor John Finlayson said it was crucial that Skye councillors work with the community to take ownership of the project, and that they “put our money were our mouth is”.

He added that this sustainable, collaborative vision for Storr could lead the way in other tourism ventures across Skye and Highland.

Chairman John Gordon agreed, saying the council should feel confident in its commercial approach.

“This is probably one of the most iconic sites in the whole of Scotland and we have to be ambitious for sites like that,” he said.

“The world comes up our country lanes to experience what Skye has to offer. We’ve got world-class sites, but we need to have the world-class experiences as well.”

The councillors agreed to invest £57,000 of their place based funding into the project, with the remaining finance coming from council and other commercial partners.

By local democracy reporter Nicola Sinclair

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