Shetland News: Nature man celebrates SOTEAG Anniversary

 | Written by Chris Cope

Iolo Williams at the Burwick beach on Thursday.
Iolo Williams at the Burwick beach on Thursday. 
WILDLIFE TV presenter Iolo Williams visited Shetland on Thursday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sullom Voe Terminal Environmental Advisory Group (SOTEAG).

The nature enthusiast enjoyed a packed day which kicked off with a talk and a spot of birdwatching at Sumburgh Head.

He then helped Anderson High School children undertake a beach clean at Burwick, teaching them about looking after the coastal environment in the process.

Iolo with schoolchildren at the Burwick clean-up.

Iolo with schoolchildren at the Burwick clean-up.Williams rounded off his visit by giving a talk to guests at Shetland Museum in the evening.

The TV presenter’s trip to Shetland was originally planned for March, but it was cancelled due to weather related travel disruption.

The Welshman said he studied the work of SOTEAG closely when he worked for the RSPB for a number years.

The organisation was founded in 1977 to carry out wide-ranging environmental baseline surveys in order to measure environmental damage, and recovery, in case of an oil spill at Sullom Voe.

“I worked for the RSPB for 15 years and had to deal with several major marine incidents,” Williams said.

“What we learned fairly early in Wales is the fact that we don’t have the network in place to deal with them efficiently, so one of the main things we looked at was how SOTEAG worked up here.

“How everybody works together, the very impressive network that they have to monitor, but also to deal with any incidents, heaven forbid should anything come along.

“The fact they’ve been going for 40 years is some achievement and when you look at what they’ve done – the model here has been copied not just by us in Wales but all over the world. It really is a great working model, everybody coming together and working towards the same goal.”

SOTEAG reports to and is funded by the Sullom Voe Association (SVA) Limited, which is comprised of Shetland Islands Council, TAQA, Total and EnQuest.

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