Sustainable Shetland asks for more time to consider proposed charitable trust reform

Anti-windfarm group Sustainable Shetland is asking for an eight-week extension to the five-week consultation period on the proposed reform of Shetland Charitable Trust.

In a letter sent to trust general manager Ann Black on Tuesday, it said it needed to discuss the current suggestion to slim down the number of trustees to 15, eight of whom would be councillors and the remainder appointed, with its 660 members at meetings in January.

The current deadline, set when the plan was put out to consultation on 13th November, is this coming Friday. But Sustainable Shetland wants that extended to 12th February.

Vice chairman Kevin Learmonth said: “We need to find out what folk think of the proposals, and we need a mandate from our members to come to a considered and reasoned response to those proposals.

“The charitable trust is an important part of sustainability in Shetland. How this trust is run, its democracy, accountability and transparency is a big issue for many people. The charitable trust was given an extension of several months from the charities regulator; we hope to be given the same consideration by the charitable trust.”

In the group’s letter to Dr Black, Sustainable Shetland chairman Billy Fox states: “We could reach a response by committee, but on such a far-reaching and important issue as trust reform, proper consultation with our members is essential. We need to find out what our members’ opinions are, and we need a clear mandate to come to a reasonable conclusion as an organisation. Contacting over 600 people, booking venues and advertising meetings are a considerable undertaking for an unfunded, voluntary organisation.

“To this end we respectfully request an eight-week extension to the consultation deadline. We feel that an extension to 12th February 2010 would be reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances. As you yourself will be aware, organising meetings over the Christmas period is not a practical proposition.”

The trust owns 45 per cent of the Viking windfarm project which Sustainable Shetland is campaigning against.


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