John O’ Groat Journal headlines January 25

PLANS
to install a new firearms training range at Dounreay have hit double trouble. Site licence company, DSRL, has been forced to move to a new location after its preferred option of using ground at Forss, fell through. And the estimated cost of installing the range for the use of the Civil Nuclear Constabulary has spiralled from 1.6 million to 2.2 million.

A VOLUNTEER worker at a welfare service has claimed regular jibes about his Australian roots contributed towards his decision to quit his unpaid post. He complained about some of the colleagues regularly calling him Kylie; having his Australian accent pilloried; and being the butt of ‘Bruce and Sheila’ barbs during his stint with the Citizens Bureau, in Wick. A spokeswoman for Citizens Scotland said that they were unable to comment on internal matters.

CAITHNESS could become an industrial wasteland if the number of wind farms continues to increase. That was the claim made by Stuart Young, chairman of Caithness Wind Information Forum. He argues wind farm development will blight the landscape, impact on the tourist industry, put up energy bills and do little to help the economy. But his claims were rejected by Scottish Renewables, the country’s leading green energy trade association.

EIGHT people in Caithness were issued with fixed penalty fines over a two-year period for allowing their dogs to foul in public places. And the number of people fined for litter offences in the Highlands has increased from 13 in 2009 up to 20 the following year and then 38 in 2011. These figures were released this week by the local authority, just as pupils at Wick High School are about to get involved in an initiative to help tackle litter in their area.

A FRESH approach to give local people an opportunity to help shape the development of the Thurso area, was given a positive reaction this week. Around 45 members of the public turned up at the town’s Pentland Hotel, on Wednesday, afternoon to hear about the innovative proposal. A similar event was held in Wick yesterday afternoon. Highland Council is currently preparing a new Caithness and Sutherland Local Plan and as part of the process, wants to give local people an opportunity to put forward their ideas and contribute to the future development of their towns and surrounding areas.