Category Archives: News

Premiam Conference: Effective post-spill monitoring – Sharing best practice and experience

4th Premiam Conference – 21st June 2018 – Flett Theatre, Natural History Museum

SOTEAG attended the 4th Premiam conference looking at effective post-spill monitoring. Oil spills remain a threat to the marine environment and speakers highlighted their experience and the importance of deploying science and technology in an effective way following oil spills. The event had an excellent programme of speakers drawn from the private, public and academic sectors.



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.

Shetland News article

BBC Radio Shetland: SOTEAG has funded a new permanent exhibition at Shetland Museum and Archives

SOTEAG funded the new installation of a permanent exhibition at Shetland Museum and Archives. The new exhibition is based in the natural environment and human history zone. This project was set up to celebrate SOTEAG’s 40th anniversary and to highlight all of the hard work that has been carried out over the past 40 years.

Please follow the link below to hear Shetland Museum’s Curator, Ian Tait, talk about about SOTEAG and the importance of its work in the past and into the future.
SOTEAG story starts at 1 minute 50 seconds.

Shetland News: 40 Years of Environmental Monitoring

SHETLAND’s environment is one of the most understood and best monitored ecologies in the whole of the UK thanks to a unique cooperation between the oil industry, the local authority and the academic world.

The Sullom Voe Terminal Environmental Advisory Group, or SOTEAG, celebrated its 40th anniversary in February last year, but it is only now, one year later, that the group has managed to lay on a series of events to mark the occasion.

SOTEAG was founded to carry out wide-ranging environmental baseline surveys in order to measure environmental damage, and recovery, in case of an oil spill.

The first and only major oil pollution at Sullom Voe Terminal, when the Esso Bernicia spilled almost 1,200 tonnes of oil into Yell Sound on 30 December 1978, helped to focus minds and reinforced the value of such an undertaking.

Speaking ahead of Thursday’s events, SOTEAG chairman Dave Paterson said the organisation was unique in its set-up as being independent of the oil industry and, in addition, is today seen as a blueprint for other regions, such as the Falkland Islands, in preparing to accommodate the oil industry. Continue reading



EnQuest PLC (‘EnQuest’) today announces that it has completed the acquisition of an initial 25% interest in the Magnus oil field (‘Magnus’), a 3.0% interest in the Sullom Voe Oil terminal and supply facility (‘SVT’) and additional interests in associated infrastructure from BP as planned. EnQuest is now the operator of both Magnus and SVT.

For more information, please follow this link

SOTEAG: SOTEAG meet with Falkland Islands Representatives

SOTEAG met with Dr Megan Tierney and Dr David Blockley, both Falkland Island representatives for the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute.

Megan and David were interested to see how SOTEAG worked. SOTEAG staff took the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with Megan and David, focusing on SOTEAG’s successful environmental monitoring programme.

Photo (left to right):
Dr David Blockley, Professor David Patterson and Dr Megan Tierney
November 2017

SOTEAG: Cunningsburgh Show Wednesday 9th August 2017

SOTEAG will be represented at Cunningsburgh Show this year!

Come along to Cunningsburgh Show on Wednesday 9th August and visit SOTEAG’s stall. You will have the opportunity to try your hand at being a bird monitor. Do you know your seabirds? Come and play our interactive bird identification game. We will have a number of activities that you can take home too!

If you work with children then please visit our stall and enquire about our SOTEAG Loan Boxes. SOTEAG are creating loan boxes for schools and community groups to loan for free. They are full of both classroom based activities and outdoor activities to enhance your knowledge about the coast and SOTEAG’s work.

If you can’t make the show but you are interested in our loan boxes then please contact our Engagement Officer, Heather Runnacles Goodridge

Click here for information about SOTEAG’s loan boxes.


Shetland News: Wildlife sanctuary marks 30th birthday by launching fundraiser to secure future

THE HILLSWICK Wildlife Sanctuary is marking 30 years of rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing seals and otters back into the wild and launching a bid to secure its long-term future.

The sanctuary, run by Jan and Pete Bevington, has been offered an “amazing opportunity” after the local oil industry and Shetland Islands Council pledged up to £300,000 to refurbish, renovate and “future proof” the sanctuary for the next three decades.

But the investment depends on the sanctuary being able to prove that it can stand on its own two feet financially.

Built on “a foundation of love and sheer hard work”, the sanctuary has survived until now on a shoestring budget.

It is now looking for 500 people willing to pledge £5 a month, providing a regular income to cover day-to-day running costs.

The sanctuary is run by Pete and Jan Bevington having been established by Jan back in May 1987.

The sanctuary is run by Pete and Jan Bevington having been established by Jan back in May 1987.

If they are successful the refurbishment funds will be released – providing Shetland’s seals and otters with a safe haven for years to come.

“The facilities at Hillswick are desperate to be refurbished,” Jan and Pete said. “Over the last three years we have managed to persuade the oil industry and the council that we are worth investing in as part of Shetland’s oil spill response plan for wildlife.

“However before they can invest such a large sum of money, they need reassurance that the sanctuary can sustain itself into the future.

“This is an opportunity we cannot afford to miss, so we’re reaching out to our thousands of friends and followers in Shetland and around the world for help. If ever we needed your support, it’s now.”

Jan feeding seal pup Marley at the sanctuary a few years ago. Continue reading

SOTEAG: New Seabird Monitor 2017

SOTEAG welcomes its new seabird monitor, Will Miles. Will Miles will be shadowing SOTEAG’s current seabird monitor Martin Heubeck for 1 year. Following this crucial hand over Will Miles will become the sole seabird monitor and Martin will retire after 40 years of service.

Will Miles:
Will has a strong interest in seabird science and for the last 10 years has worked on seabirds in Shetland, the Outer Hebrides, Ascension Island and the Falklands. Will has a PhD in seabird ecology, for which his study site was St Kilda. Latterly, Will led the seabird monitoring programme on Fair isle, followed by a research post at Aberdeen University specialising in seabird and migration ecology. Will is extremely happy to be joining SOTEAG as Seabird Monitor and is looking forward to the beginning of the 2017 seabird breeding season and working alongside Martin Heubeck and Mick Mellor.

To read the most recent seabird monitoring report please follow this link