Jeopardising an opportunity (Allan Wishart)
True to form, Sustainable Shetland plans to throw any spanner in the works in its attempts to delay the Viking Energy development.
It seems inconceivable that a relatively small group of islanders will do anything to jeopardise an opportunity to harness a natural resource which can be of huge benefit to Shetland and its inhabitants. Here could be the chance for Shetland Charitable Trust to finance fixed links to Bressay, Whalsay, Unst and Yell. Here as well is an amazing opportunity to deal with ‘fuel poverty’ by providing insulation and double glazing, as other communities near wind farms have done. Provision for disadvantaged, elderly and indeed all less fortunate islanders could be within our means. Education? Yes, of course it needs an overhaul – would that not be so much easier with better transport links?
As Jonathan Wills’ remarks on Radio Shetland have revealed, any positive views about Viking Energy are dismissed and ridiculed by the same people trotting out the same rubbish about the damage to Shetland’s landscape, peat, wildlife and so on. Important as they are, those issues have all been rigorously vetted and approved by the relevant organisations that have the authority and expertise to do so.
But at last, the real Billy Fox has stood up! Deputy leader of all Shetland. Apparently he knows better than anyone else the future of the inter-connector cable, the future of renewables in Shetland and the future of the islands’ living standards. He mentioned some time ago that we’d all have to be willing to “tighten the belt” presumably to enable Shetland to live on the diminishing annual handout from central government.
Not much evidence has been seen so far of any bold proposals from Billy to live within our reducing means. Forget all about fixed links and all the other benefits that could come from renewables if Billy’s fanatical opposition to Viking and an inter-connector cable succeeds. Let’s hope his senior colleagues at the Town Hall are equally forthright in reminding him of council policy regarding renewables.
So much is at stake. If we in Shetland don’t move forward in support of Viking Energy, there will be a scrabble among the corporates to grab this opportunity from us and take the rewards that go with it.