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The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness is one of two Scottish buildings among the 16 winners of the Royal Institute of British Architects National Awards, which were announced in London on Friday night.

According to the judges, the “extraordinary sensitivity” of the Pier Arts Centre has been achieved by architects Reiach and Hall by extending the original gallery building through adding a new zinc and glass building which can be viewed from across the harbour.

The Stirling Prize shortlist will be drawn from the 16 RIBA National Award winners, and the RIBA European Award winners which are eligible for the prize. The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 17 July.

Traffic warden reinstated - by popular demand

A Scottish traffic warden has been reinstated - after a campaign to save him by local residents and motorists.

James Dewar, 59, was the only traffic warden in the port of Stromness on Orkney until he was told his services were no longer required.

The local police force had increased its presence in the town and its constables were due to take over his duties, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Dewar, who is employed during the summer when tourists double the population of the historic town, keeps the traffic moving in one of Britain's narrowest high streets.

He has done the job for 14 years and is regarded as a friend by many of the residents. He also helps children get home safely after school, and offers advice to tourists.

"To us he's a friend," said Sarah Taylor, who headed the campaign to keep Mr Dewar.

"Anywhere else people would be surprised that we want to keep our traffic warden, but he does an invaluable job in Stromness and he's a great asset to the town."

Mr Dewar, who runs a small croft outside Stromness with his wife Jenny, looking after sheep, goats and hens, said: "For a traffic warden to be wanted is unusual to say the least.

"I'm deeply honoured that the people of Stromness wanted to keep me as their traffic warden. I'm so grateful for their support."

Chief Insp David Miller, of Northern Constabulary, said he could remain in Stromness this summer and the force would consider expanding his duties next year.

Glass half Beerfull

Sinclair Breweries has opened the tendering process for a massive expansion of its Orkney Brewery, which makes its flagship Dark Island beer.

The plans will see the company triple its brewing capacity to boost production of its existing products, in particular Dark Island, but also its 8.5% Skullsplitter brew and Red McGregor.

Sinclair Breweries, which also owns the Atlas Brewery at Kinlochleven in Argyll, will open a visitor centre and events venue, which will host tasting events and Orkney evenings for visitors, on the site.

The expansion will see the company taking on two new full-time brewing staff plus three more full-time and eight part-time employees for the visitor centre. Currently the brewery can not host visitors.

Sinclair Breweries, which bought the Orkney plant two years ago, hopes work will start on the project in August with the brewery expansion completed in five months and the visitor centre opened by March 2009.

Tidal waves


Orkney suffers some of the worst coastal erosion in Scotland. As a result over 1,000 archaeological sites are at risk.

A new book by county archaeologist Julie Gibson will be launched this week, outlining a fraction of these sites and highlighting the problem.

A collaboration with photographer Frank Bradford, Rising Tides: The Loss of Coastal Heritage in Orkney, is being launched in Kirkwall tonight, part of the Maritime Societies of the Viking and Medieval World conference.

Proceeds from the title will go to the Friends of the Orkney Archaeolgical Trust.

Hot Gridle

Irish company OpenHydro has announced that it has become the first company to complete the connection of a tidal turbine to the UK national grid and commence electricity generation.

This is claimed to be a first for both the UK and Ireland and in doing so OpenHydro has reportedly become one of the first companies in the world to reach this stage of technical maturity. OpenHydro's 250kW open-centre turbine, which is installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) off Eday, Orkney, Scotland, commenced generation onto the grid.

EMEC is reportedly the only independent and publicly financed facility in the world for testing tidal and wave technologies. OpenHydro has been testing the power generation of its open-centre turbine over the past 18 months at EMEC