It will be late April at the earliest before a judicial review into the Scottish government’s backing for the Viking Energy windfarm can resume.
The case, brought by anti-Viking protest group Sustainable Shetland, was adjourned this week to see whether the UK government wishes to become involved in the hearing.
The Advocate General for Scotland, who happens to be ex-Northern Isles MP Jim Wallace, is to be given a fortnight to make up his mind.
Four days have been pencilled in beginning on Tuesday 30th April, but if the UK government does become involved then more court time may be required. In that case, the review may not resume until mid-June.
The judge, Lady Clark of Calton, is likely to take several weeks following the review’s conclusion to deliver her verdict.
Earlier this week, Sustainable Shetland’s QC Sir Crispin Agnew set out the protest group’s challenge to energy minister Fergus Ewing’s decision to back the controversial 103-turbine project.
Sustainable Shetland argues that Mr Ewing should have ordered a public inquiry. Its case centres on a belief that the government failed to comply with its obligations under the EU Birds Directive – in relation to the windfarm’s potential impact on the whimbrel, a migratory wading bird.
The government insists it took the birds directive, and the other concerns of objectors, into consideration when making its decision.