Viking Energy’s windfarm plan meets national policy planning guidelines and ties in with local development and structure plans, according to a report that will be submitted to Scottish ministers as part of the application.
The Viking Windfarm Planning Statement, produced by international planning consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle, assessed the proposal to build 150 turbines, each 145m high, in the north and central Mainland and concluded that there was nothing within it to stop permission being granted on planning grounds.
Bill Manson, chairman of Viking Energy, said: “This document confirms that our proposals meet planning policy on both a local and national level. However we are aware that a number of factors will be considered by the Scottish government before a decision is made.
“These include the opinions of the local community and the progress of the application for an interconnector between Shetland and the mainland, which would mean we could sell the electricity not used locally to the national grid.”
However Billy Fox, chairman of anti-windfarm group Sustainable Shetland, said the report was a statement of opinion, not fact and a normal document to produce at this stage in the process.
“Jones Lang LaSalle are known to act for [Viking Energy partner] Scottish and Southern Energy on a number of windfarm projects and the general conclusions in this document are very similar to conclusions for other schemes,” he said.
“We would stress this is not the position of Shetland Islands Council, which has still to assess the proposal. The planning statement opinion is certainly not shared by Sustainable Shetland.”
The report is designed to sit alongside the published Environmental Statement and is being submitted to the Scottish government’s Energy Consents Unit and the SIC’s planning department. It has also been uploaded onto the Viking Energy website.
The report states: “The overall conclusion reached is that the proposed development satisfies the terms of the [Electricity Act] 1989, and is also supported by the terms of Section 25 of the [Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act] 1997. It is therefore recommended that consent should be granted under Section 36 of the Electricity Act and deemed planning permission should be granted under Section 57 (2) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 for the proposed development.
“The development plan has sustainability at its core and recognises Shetland’s current over reliance on non-renewable sources of fuel. The development plan promotes renewable energy projects in this context subject to compliance with other criteria within the plan. From this assessment of planning policy considerations, the proposed development can draw significant support from the development plan.”