Trustees to stage last-gasp meeting on windfarm funding
Shetland Charitable Trust is to hold a snap meeting on Monday to discuss the £6.3 million Viking windfarm investment after a group of trustees used their powers to requisition a special session.
The surprise move means the 19 councillors who remain on the trust, and its two independent trustees, face having to make a controversial and historic decision just three days before council election day.
The venue for the meeting is undecided but is likely to be the Shetland Hotel at 10am.
After two recent failed attempts at mustering the minimum 12 trustees to have a quorum to discuss Viking, it had been expected that the matter would not be tabled again until June or July to allow time for at least 11 newly elected councillor-trustees to settle in.
But the trust’s constitution allows trustees to requisition a meeting if at least seven of them demand it, which is what happened this week.
The trust confirmed that arrangements were in place late this afternoon.
Chairman Bill Manson said: “These trustees have intimated that they feel frustrated that they have not been given the opportunity to debate the issues and to make a decision at previous meetings because there has not been a quorum.
“They appreciate the same situation may arise again but feel the decision is such an important one it needs to be discussed. In particular they feel strongly that they want their views recorded whether a decision is possible or not.”
Normal trust meetings require seven days’ notice but those requisitioned by trustees have no such requirement. However, they do have to be held within 14 days.
Meanwhile, meetings have been taking place this week between the partners in Viking to discuss the programme of work for the next 18 months to two years following the granting of government consent for the windfarm on 4th April.
But the trust, which has a 45 per cent share in the project, is severely hampered in what it can agree to in the absence of funds to pay its share of the bills.
The works are expected to cost £14 million before the shareholders are in a position to make the final decision whether to build the 103 turbines, which can have a capacity of up to 457 MegaWatts.
The funding is to pay for extensive site investigations, technical and construction studies, contract investigations, investment auditing and wages.
Scottish and Southern Energy, the 50 per cent stakeholder, which will invest £7 million, has already expressed its understanding and support for the trust during its funding difficulties.
This week Viking Wind Ltd, the private local company which holds a five per cent share and must invest another £700,000, said it was “entirely sympathetic to the challenges that the Shetland Charitable Trust faces”.
It also reiterated its support for ensuring community ownership continued through the trust.
It said: “The concept of significant community ownership and control has been at the heart of this project since the beginning and no-one has any wish to move away from that.”