25th May 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Anti-windfarm group appeals for legal fund

Sustainable Shetland is looking to raise over £30,000 to contest the Scottish government and Viking Energy appeal against Lady Clark’s ruling that overturned consent for the controversial windfarm.

But the anti-windfarm group will only be contesting the appeal on the whimbrel issue as it cannot afford to challenge the appeal against the licensing judgement.

Judicial review judge Lady Clark ruled last month that Scottish government ministers had failed to take account of their obligations under the EU Wild Birds Directive in relation to the impact of the windfarm on the population of the whimbrel, a wading bird. She also ruled that consent for the project was “incompetent” because the Viking Energy Partnership did not have a licence to generate electricity.

Sustainable Shetland chairman Frank Hay said today that the appeal, due to be held at the end of February, is scheduled for six days after a two-day judicial review of documents.

A House of Lords’ bid to amend the 1989 Electricity Act to allow developers in Scotland to apply for windfarm consent without a generating licence stalled last week after it failed to win support from the peers.

Mr Hay said that Sustainable Shetland would be seeking a protected costs order of £30,000. That means the Scottish government will pay that figure if it loses the court battle. Legal proceedings have already cost Sustainable Shetland “over £60,000” for 14 days’ legal representation at a “restricted fee”.

Mr Hay added: “We are pleased to announce that we are able to meet the costs of the judicial review to date, which lasted for 14 days instead of the four originally set for it in court.

“We are able to do so because of the great generosity and determination of our members and supporters.

“We wish, however, to appeal to the wider community for support in our action. The cost to our members has been great. Many people petitioned Shetland Islands Council against the windfarm development and sent objections to the Energy Consents Unit. We are also aware of groups around the UK who have concerns about the proliferation of wind turbines. We would be grateful for any financial support.”

He pointed out that Viking Energy’s costs would be “significantly higher than ours” as they had a larger legal team, while Sustainable Shetland had the “minimum” necessary representation.

Appeals have been lodged by both the ministers and Viking Energy Partnership, and are to be heard at the end of February in the Inner House of the Court of Session. They are appealing both against the licence and competency ruling, and against the European Wild Birds Directive ruling.

A procedural hearing to decide the format of the appeals will take place later this month. Meanwhile Sustainable Shetland will be keeping a “watching brief” on the competency issue.

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

View other stories by »

6 comments

  1. Johan Adamson

    Why has VE lodged an appeal? Does anyone know? Is it justified if Scottish Ministers are already appealing?

    How much is this going to cost us (SCT)?

    Reply
    • Linda Tait

      Perhaps the SCT ought to be consulted as to whether this is an appropriate use for their “charitable” money?

      Reply
  2. Bert Morrison

    Surely Donald Trump will cover this?

    Reply
    • ian tinkler

      Thanks for the idea Bert. I will write to him (Trump) forthwith, that may help a lot, especially if we go to the European Court. Pity it’s our Charitable Trust funds and tax monies being burnt up by VE and Salmond’s lot. I am independent of SS so no embarrassment there.

      Reply
  3. Donnie Morrison

    It was interesting to read Bert Morrison’s pathetic attempt at sarcasm. We can all remember that one of the Windfarm Supporters’ Group’s major financial outlays was a half page advert signed by a number of businesses pleading with the Charitable trust to invest £6.3 million in Viking Energy.
    This, as we now know, is a project with the potential to damage the health of those forced to live within the windfarm.
    Boy, boy, I hoop dey’re aa prood o dir achievement.

    Reply
  4. Ian Tinkler

    Its a pity Donnie, no sense, no feeling!

    Reply

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.