IT may be well known for its lack of trees and has no existing timber industry, but officials in Shetland are turning to wood to fuel their new heating system - for an office block located beside one of Europe's biggest oil and gas terminals.

Shetland Islands Council said biomass was the most cost-effective solution for the upgrade to the oil boiler system in the Port Administration Building on Sella Ness, where marine operations are monitored. This is despite it being situated beside the Sullom Voe terminal, which receives hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and processes more than 1600 tonnes of gas a day.

Wood pellets will be imported onto the islands to fuel the biomass system, which is designed by Windhager UK and is expected to lower the local authority's carbon footprint and save money from its revenue budget.

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John Simpson, from the Shetland Islands Council, said: "Although the system has not yet been tested in cold weather, to date it has performed very well and we look forward to it continuing to do so."