Costs met from within (Andrew Halcrow)
The hearings of the Judicial Review of the Scottish ministers’ consent for the Viking Energy windfarm are now at an end.
Originally planned to be heard in four days in January this year, eventually three sessions of four days were held, with the final addition of an extra day for the last of these, and another separate two-day hearing.
The court proceedings were delayed and extended, most recently in relation to the question of whether the Viking Energy partnership required an electricity licence in order for the section 36 consent under the Electricity Act 1989 to have been granted.
The judge, Lady Clark of Calton, will now consider submissions made to her by the parties and make a decision whether or not to quash the section 36 consent granted last year by Scottish ministers to Viking Energy Partnership. This is likely to take some time, with no decision expected for a number of months.
Sustainable Shetland petitioned for its Protected Expenses Order to be reviewed in the light of the extra time the case has taken. This was granted in a short hearing, so that the Scottish ministers are now liable to pay up to £60,000 of Sustainable Shetland’s legal costs, should the judge find in favour of the group.
Sustainable Shetland’s maximum liability to Scottish Ministers remains at £5,000 in the event that Sustainable Shetland are unsuccessful.
Apart from the recently publicised and generous offer from the John Muir Trust, and a few local voluntary organisations, Sustainable Shetland’s legal costs have been entirely met from many individual donations and pledges – the majority of these from within Shetland – and fund-raising initiatives.
The generosity of people has been both inspiring and humbling, and testifies to the strength of feeling that exists about the Viking Energy windfarm within the Shetland community.
Committee members have attended some periods of the Court of Session hearings voluntarily and at their own cost.
Chairman, Sustainable Shetland