The proposed Viking Energy windfarm remains “totally out of scale with Shetland’s world class landscape” and its green credentials have still not been properly tested, according to Shetland Amenity Trust.
Sustaining its objection to the project in its latest submission to the energy consents unit (ECU) in time for today’s deadline, the organisation, which exists to safeguard and promote Shetland’s natural and cultural heritage, acknowledges that in its revised form Viking’s planning application suggests a smaller site and removes some turbines from sensitive areas.
However, the trust states: “Shetland Amenity Trust believes that this development is still totally out of scale with Shetland’s world class landscape. No rigorous, scientific assessment of the carbon balance of the proposed development has been carried out and, therefore, the ‘green credentials’ of this project have not been properly tested. The impact of the windfarm on the natural and cultural heritage remains unacceptable and the habitat management plan contains a series of measures that are largely untried in such an extreme climate, some of which are unlikely to be successful.”
The trust says it is “somewhat ironic” that Shetland was recently ranked sixth in the top 10 regions of the world to visit in 2011 by Lonely Planet when Viking plans to disturb a diverse breeding bird community and active blanket bog.
“To penetrate such areas with infrastructure and associated roads will damage this landscape, take away [the] feeling of wilderness forever and could dramatically increase the levels of disturbance on breeding bird populations.”
On the carbon payback time, which Viking puts at around one year, the trust says it has little confidence in the predicted figures and gives its own “worst case scenario” as 601.5 years. “It seems the developer is no nearer to providing any kind of authentic figure for carbon payback.”
The trust also objects to the fact that the carbon footprint of the proposed interconnector cable is not included in the overall calculations.
The trust would like a public inquiry to be held into the development “to enable all conflicting facts and opinions on the Viking windfarm proposal to be tested in a fair, open and transparent fashion”.