Speculative euphoria (Billy Fox)
In what appears to be the last charitable trust meeting of this council, Viking Energy Ltd through the SCT financial controller is asking for another £6.3m bringing the potential total spend to £10m.
It is being put forward in a wave of speculative euphoria entirely in keeping with how this windfarm proposal has been projected from day one.
This is being done despite having no planning consent and no resolution of the issue surrounding Scatsta Airport’s requirement for turbine removal, or for SNH’s objection on bird disturbance and visual grounds. It is more money being spent in a reckless gamble at a time when the council is hurting vulnerable members of society with frontline cuts.
In my opinion it is a cynical move to get further funding through on the very last day of this council, they presumably feel they will have more chance manipulating the current members rather than any new members come 3rd May.
The most telling part of the financial controller’s report lies in what I believe is his and Viking Energy Ltd’s real expectation, namely the call for a £360,000 draw down to cover any costs should the project continue to be delayed.
You can just imagine the trustees’ relief when faced with a call for £6.3m to acquiesce to the relatively small interim sum of £360,000. This is nothing short of secondhand car salesman tactics!
There is no doubt the project is floundering, rumours are rife that Viking Energy is actively looking at other areas in the Central and West Mainland to site turbines.
As it stands with 24 turbines taken out for Scatsta Airport it cannot justify an interconnector cable. It is therefore unlikely the energy minister would give a planning consent at this stage.
There has been a lack of transparency and accountability surrounding this project, but when it comes to Viking Energy Ltd and the charitable trust’s manoeuvring they are an open book.
I call on trustees to reject this request or at the very least defer this decision for the new council. There is no urgency for this decision, although given the performance at the SCT meeting where the last £420,000 was drawn down, the financial controller will doubtless tell the trustees otherwise. They should not buy it!