An environmental monitoring group is being set up for the proposed Viking Energy wind farm which will play a similar role to the advisory group set up for Sullom Voe more than 30 years ago.
The Shetland Wind Farm Environmental Advisory Group (Sweag) is being modelled on the Shetland Oil Terminal Environmental Advisory Group (Soteag) and is expected to cost nearly £240,000 a year to run in its early years until the 150-turbine complex is built. Costs will be met by the SIC and its partners in the wind farm – Scottish and Southern Energy and the four shareholders in Shetland Aerogenerators.
Sweag will study the environmental implications of a proposed windfarm being sited in the hills of the Mainland before, during and after its construction and when it comes to be decommissioned. The effects on water, soil, animals and birds will be monitored. It may extend its attentions to other windfarms if they exist and Sweag is invited to monitor them.
Representatives of a wide variety of bodies will be invited to sit on the Sweag, which will be chaired by an academic. Membership is to include wildlife groups, crofting and farming interests, council officials, a salmon farming representative and government bodies including Sepa and Scottish Natural Heritage. This week three SIC councillors were nominated to sit on Sweag: Rick Nickerson, Gary Robinson and Jim Henry.