19th July 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Smell from planning

The Shetland Islands Council planning board met on 21st April to discuss an application from Viking Energy to erect three data masts. A new planning condition was circulated as the meeting began.

The minutes for the meeting say: “In response to a question from the Chairperson, the Service Manager confirmed that the additional condition would ensure no activity in the area during the bird breeding season”. I heard this said, so did all councillors present, but the Viking Energy project officer standing outside the room may not have heard quite so clearly.

Note the words of the minute: no activity and bird breeding season. No mention of allowing work in the breeding season if mitigation measures were in place.

The committee duly gave permission, on the basis of this clear and unambiguous information from a planning official.

On Sunday 30th May Sustainable Shetland succeeded in persuading the sub-contractor to halt work on erecting the third mast at Scalla Field. The main contractor on-site appeared to be a Viking Energy shareholder and uncle of a Viking Energy employee.

The following day the planning department said construction of these masts could re-commence. This is the exact opposite of what the planning board had been told. Something is seriously wrong in the working relationship between the planning board, the planning department and a developer closely associated with this council.

Any other developer may be excused for not knowing about the existence of council minutes and plead ignorance. There is no such excuse for Viking Energy: three councillors act as directors, one councillor is employed as a project co-coordinator and all remaining councillors are connected as trustees of Shetland Charitable Trust which has a 45 per cent stake in the project.

Something has gone wrong here, and it stinks.

Kevin Learmonth
Vice-chairman
Sustainable Shetland
Uradale,
East Voe,
Scalloway.

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.