Gun to our heads (Iain Malcolmson)
So here we are then. The gun is very firmly to our heads. A gun very firmly put there by our council which acted as the Trojan Horse for SSE.
We all know that this windfarm project would not be happening if a huge multinational company was proposing this on its own. There would have been uproar in the chamber. There would have been outrage at the environmental impact of such a huge industrial development on our fragile environment. There would have been unanimous support for their own planning officials who reported the development was against their own planning policy. There would be disbelief and incredulity that a development could be sited so close to Shetland residents that their health could be in danger. There would have been so much opposition that the council would have insisted on a public enquiry and ultimately I believe, as happened in Caithness recently, the scheme would have been rejected.
But no. That hasn’t happened, has it? The council and a sizeable but undetermined amount of the population of Shetland (both ultra green and ultra greedy) have decided that there is money in it for us so it is okay to pull the trigger for ourselves. After all, it is only really going to affect the lives of the poor sods that have to live next to it. That’s a price worth paying isn’t it? We’ll be alright because it’s not in my back garden and we can just sit back and soak up the subsidy.
Well I am one of those poor sods who will have to live with it and funnily enough I do not have the same laid back attitude to it. Admittedly, I may have been a little less informed if I lived in the south end, Waas or anywhere else that is not physically affected. Why would you bother trawling through the vast amount of information and misinformation if you were getting all the gain but none of the pain? My deep respect goes out to the people in these less affected areas who have made the effort, who have seen the wood through the trees and have dared to question the Shetland “party line”.
I am surprised, and then again not surprised, by the reluctance of Viking Energy and some councillors to recognise that there are genuine concerns around the world that people’s health is being detrimentally affected by the proximity of wind turbines. There is a multitude of identical anecdotal evidence to back this up, and an ever increasing number of studies being carried out that present evidence of sleep deprivation caused by wind turbine noise. It is also medically accepted that sleep deprivation affects people’s health. The recent publishing of a peer reviewed report by Hanning and Evans in the British Medical Journal, that wind turbine noise close to dwellings causes sleep deprivation in residents, is pretty clear. “There is not one single report published showing the lack of adverse effects on sleep and health.” This is why Viking Energy did not produce a health risk assessment … because there is a risk. VE obviously thinks of risk in terms of money rather than health.
As well as living close the development I run my own business. Yes folks, I’m a wealth creator. This makes me sound like I can skip down Commercial Street turning the paving stones into gold. If only I could. I really object however to the inference that if I run my own business I must be in favour of Viking Energy. Worse still is the inference that my employees are in favour of it. This is total nonsense. Whether you are a director, partner, employee or civil servant this issue totally divides our society. Everyone has their own opinions and they are entitled to express them in their own right no matter whether they are employed or an employer. Just 140 businesses out of 1,000 registered in Shetland is not exactly a ringing endorsement anyway.
Viking Energy and SIC see us folks at the sharp end as a side issue, an irrelevance, ignore them and they will go away. Well they can stick their head in the sand if they want. We are the inconvenient truth in this story and we won’t go away. I get the faint whiff of the Bressay Brig here. This is a scenario where only the lawyers will be the winners.