Dereliction of duty (James Mackenzie)
There’s a lot of discussion presently about the 2km distance of wind turbines from dwellings.
As far as I can recall, Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) 6 requires local authorities to provide a spatial framework for windfarms over 20MW in size.
In this I believe it states that, in local authority deliberations, turbines should be sited no less than 2km from settlements in order to protect their amenity. It’s debatable what “amenity” means, but I would presume it includes health, or healthy living.
Shetland Islands Council produced, presumably in response to SPP6, a Draft Interim Planning Policy (IPP) on Windfarms over 20MW in November 2010, roughly coinciding with the end of the consultation period for the Viking Energy Addendum.
Responses had to be in by a date in December 2011, and I was told that the council would debate and decide on the Draft IPP in January 2012.
In the meantime the council approved the Viking windfarm, which clearly would have breached the terms of the Draft IPP.
Since then the Draft IPP, and the responses of consultees, have never been debated.
As a result the SIC has no policy on windfarms over 20MW, which to me would mean that it has ignored Scottish Planning Policy. It is a moot question whether the Scottish energy minister has acted similarly in granting planning consent for the Viking windfarm.
To my mind, there has been a dereliction of duty both locally and nationally in this respect. Whether this could legally be construed as impropriety remains to be seen.