Suspicious Fires

The Fire and Rescue Service has said it has attended a number of suspicious fires over the last few months, including four fires in the last week in Onchan.

A spokesman said: ‘Any deliberate fire is dangerous and poses a serious risk to the public and property and has a significant impact on our local community.  Dealing with deliberate fires draws our fundamental and valuable resources away from our community which ultimately places unnecessary risk to life.

‘This behaviour is illegal and irresponsible and emergency services will do everything they can to tackle this issue.  The Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service will be working alongside our colleagues at the Isle of Man Constabulary and would like to jointly appeal to the public to help us in preventing these incidents from occurring.’

Tree Warning

People are being reminded that a license is required before any tree can be felled on the island after a man was prosecuted in court. Denis Cunningham, 70 and from Ramsey, was fined £4,200 after admitting six counts of causing or permitting another to unlawfully uproot a tree without a licence on Monday. Mr Cunningham was working for someone who planned to install a ground source heat pump in a field near their Lezayre home in November 2020.  While the charges focussed on the six largest trees the gov believe more than 30 could have been removed from the field.

Environment Minister Geoffrey Boot said: ‘Trees are critical to the environment and the beauty of our Biosphere, but also provide important habitats for wildlife and help mitigate against climate change. While prosecutions are rare, they serve as a reminder that people must first obtain a licence or risk a substantial fine. While we support the fitting of ground source heat pumps – anyone wishing to do so must follow the appropriate steps including planning.’

Since the incident Mr Cunningham has been working with the gov on a replanting scheme for the area where the sycamore, oak and willow were removed.

MNH Wants a Farmer

Manx National Heritage has started the search for a tenant farmer for land at Cregneash on the Southern Coast of the island.  Rental offers are being invited for the landholding, which comprises approximately 126 acres of farmland, including a mixture of permanent pasture, arable land and conservation areas. The land being offered for lease comprises 114 acres below the mountain line and 12 acres above.  MNH is retaining land in the immediate vicinity of the village under its direct control as part of the visitor experience at Cregneash.    

Under the tenancy, the MNH Loaghtan flock at Cregneash, along with Shorthorn and Kerry cattle will be transferred to the incoming Tenant under a loan agreement.  The tenant farmer will also supply livestock for display in Cregneash village and will work closely with the MNH team. 

Goodnight Arlene

Arlene Foster has announced her resignation as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and as NI first minister after an internal revolt. Mrs Foster, 50, said she would step down as DUP leader on 28 May and as first minister at the end of June. More than 20 DUP NI Assembly members and four MPs signed a letter voicing no-confidence in the leadership. Mrs Foster said it had been the privilege of her life to serve the people of Northern Ireland.

Boris in Bother

The UK’s Electoral Commission has launched an investigation into funding of works on Boris Johnson’s Downing Street flat.  The spending watchdog said there were “reasonable grounds to suspect that an offence or offences may have occurred”. The PM has been under growing pressure to declare how refurbishments were paid for after his ex-adviser Dominic Cummings said there was a plan for donors to ‘secretly pay’.

Collins Dies

Michael Collins, one of the three men who were part of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. Often termed the third man, Collins was the only member of the mission not to set foot on the moon as he remained aboard a module. Buzz Aldrin, 91, is now the only surviving member of the mission.

Jabs on Order

The UK has ordered 60m doses of Pfizer jabs as it steps up plans for an autumn booster jab. It comes as Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam said: ‘We are really in very low levels that are comparable to where we were in September last year. We are running as a typical seven day average of just over 2,000 people testing positive per day. My sense is that probably we are at or close to the bottom at the moment in terms of this level of disease in the UK.’

However he did warn that there would be ‘some degree of bumpiness’ in the autumn and winter. 

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