Windfarm plan meets national and local planning guidelines, claim developers

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.”


Add Your Comment
  • Kevin Learmonth

    • July 10th, 2009 16:53

    There’s so much wrong with this report it’s difficult to cover it all. But here’s just one point raised. The report claims that Shetland has an over reliance on non-renewable sources of fuel. So the claimed 20% of generation capacity from Burradale Wind farm has disappeared overnight has it? Does no one in Lerwick get their heating and hot water from the District Heating system? Both these energy sources use a significant element of renewable fuel. Perhaps this report is a copy and paste dossier from some other project? Shetland Charitable trust money paid for it; do we get a discount for a second hand report?

    Anyway, it has been claimed that 20% electricity from wind is the maximum capable of being handled by a local grid. If this was not the case, Shetland would be covered in wind farms already, not just the Viking Energy scheme.

    Mind you, add an interconnector cable and the Viking Energy becomes the first of many very large wind farms, coming to a hill near you soon.

    Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has a target of 50% energy from renewables for Scotland. The EU target is 20%. In fact Shetland probably already meets or even exceeds its EU targets. This report simply picks selective facts which suit its case, and ignores information from the same source when it doesn’t suit their case.

    If it is impossible to exceed 20% from wind without destabilising or damaging local or national electricity grids (yes the lights could go out because of wind), the bulk of this renewable energy will come from reliable renewable sources; hydro, tidal and the like, not from intermittent sources such as wind.

    Finally wind farm developers and thieir paid for lobbyists like to imply that it is wind to grid or nothing. In fact wind to heat, waste to heat and a multitude of other energy sources and energy uses work very effectively on an off-grid, community / town / city basis. Good news for the environment, bad news for wind farm developers.


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