Trustees to stage last-gasp meeting on windfarm funding

Shetland Charitable Trust is to hold a snap meeting on Monday to discuss the £6.3 million Viking windfarm investment after a group of trustees used their powers to requisition a special session.

The surprise move means the 19 councillors who remain on the trust, and its two independent trustees, face having to make a controversial and historic decision just three days before council election day.

The venue for the meeting is undecided but is likely to be the Shetland Hotel at 10am.

After two recent failed attempts at mustering the minimum 12 trustees to have a quorum to discuss Viking, it had been expected that the matter would not be tabled again until June or July to allow time for at least 11 newly elected councillor-trustees to settle in.

But the trust’s constitution allows trustees to requisition a meeting if at least seven of them demand it, which is what happened this week.

The trust confirmed that arrangements were in place late this afternoon.

Chairman Bill Manson said: “These trustees have intimated that they feel frustrated that they have not been given the opportunity to debate the issues and to make a decision at previous meetings because there has not been a quorum.

“They appreciate the same situation may arise again but feel the decision is such an important one it needs to be discussed. In particular they feel strongly that they want their views recorded whether a decision is possible or not.”

Normal trust meetings require seven days’ notice but those requisitioned by trustees have no such requirement. However, they do have to be held within 14 days.

Meanwhile, meetings have been taking place this week between the partners in Viking to discuss the programme of work for the next 18 months to two years following the granting of government consent for the windfarm on 4th April.

But the trust, which has a 45 per cent share in the project, is severely hampered in what it can agree to in the absence of funds to pay its share of the bills.

The works are expected to cost £14 million before the shareholders are in a position to make the final decision whether to build the 103 turbines, which can have a capacity of up to 457 MegaWatts.

The funding is to pay for extensive site investigations, technical and construction studies, contract investigations, investment auditing and wages.

Scottish and Southern Energy, the 50 per cent stakeholder, which will invest £7 million, has already expressed its understanding and support for the trust during its funding difficulties.

This week Viking Wind Ltd, the private local company which holds a five per cent share and must invest another £700,000, said it was “entirely sympathetic to the challenges that the Shetland Charitable Trust faces”.

It also reiterated its support for ensuring community ownership continued through the trust.

It said: “The concept of significant community ownership and control has been at the heart of this project since the beginning and no-one has any wish to move away from that.”

COMMENTS(14)

Add Your Comment
  • Colin Arnot

    • April 26th, 2012 18:32

    Well this is adding insult to injury. The current Trust members had their opportunity an blew it recently! This sudden rush flies in the face of the current process to elect a new Council. In other words, there seems to be a fear in the Trust, or a need to rush into a massive decision just incase the electorate return a Council with a fresh view ion the whole matter! All feels a bit underhand….

    REPLY
  • Ian McCormack

    • April 26th, 2012 18:43

    Disgusting. Absolutly appauling that these people can demand meetings for this. Do they have no concept of how people in Shetland feel about this windfarm. As long as they get it all sorted while they have the power to do so, cos their gonna get booted out on their ears by the voters!! So selfish. Hope they have walk outs at their meeting!! Get it through you heads S.I.C We DONT want the windfarm

    REPLY
  • phili smith

    • April 26th, 2012 18:47

    Disgraceful behaviour by Desperate people.
    This is PUBLIC MONEY not yours.

    REPLY
  • Katrina McLachlan

    • April 26th, 2012 20:40

    Desperate times for desperate people.

    REPLY
  • Douglas Young

    • April 26th, 2012 20:50

    Shocking, corrupt.

    REPLY
  • Maurice Smith

    • April 26th, 2012 21:26

    Well done, Jim Henry, resigning as vice chair of Trust. One councillor at least with some semblance of decency.

    What a shower the departing crew are! Those standing again for SIC may brag of their experience, but I wouldn’t put it on my CV if I was one of them. As in the case of ladies of the night, experience does not necessarily mean virtue!

    REPLY
  • Karen Anderson

    • April 26th, 2012 21:34

    Who are the group who have asked for this….. Is it councillors who are now standing down or councillors who are looking to be re-elected?

    REPLY
  • D.Thomson

    • April 26th, 2012 21:55

    Why are all these ever so clever trustees being told what to do by the Chairman of Viking Energy, a company which the Charitable Trust owns?
    Answer: He’s also Chairman of the Charitable Trust, that’s why.

    Why is Viking Energy in such a rush to get their hands on money that’s not theirs to spend?
    Answer: They have so many urgent and secret things to spend it on which might even be ‘in-house contracts’ and salaries for ex-trustees and ex-directors of Viking Energy, that’s why.

    Why can’t they wait till after the election?
    Answer: A big bad bully called Democracy might spoil their sweetie-party and stop them from buying lots of lovely new shiny windmills, that’s why.

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  • John Kryton

    • April 26th, 2012 22:53

    Please please on Monday the 1st of May support the windfarm and approve the new funding as recommended by your advisers and as advocated by the majority of Shetlander’s.

    REPLY
  • Alan Skinner

    • April 26th, 2012 23:19

    I do hope that these trustees are receiving excellent legal advice, paid out of their own pockets and not out of the Trust’s pocket, about possible breaches of fiduciary duty. It seems to be me that their unseemly rush to force this through, before a democratic election, leaves them wide open to accusations of breach of fiduciary duty. There are possible legal consequences for them.

    Alan Skinner – Candidate for North Isles

    REPLY
  • Mike Bennett

    • April 27th, 2012 0:13

    “Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear (Jeremiah 5:21)
    As a group you are acting in a shameful manner, without integrity or common decency. Do you have no shame ? Like many others that you purport to represent, I urge you, as individuals, to salvage some dignity and walk out of Monday’s meeting with your heads held high before it starts. The decision to release more money to the VE wind farm project is morally no longer yours to take.

    REPLY
  • Sandy McDonald

    • April 27th, 2012 8:32

    How people in Shetland feel about the wind farm? It’s probably around 50-50 if not 60-40 in favour at the moment.

    REPLY
  • Terence Haycock

    • April 27th, 2012 11:35

    Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

    No matter what the people of Shetland want this corrupt and money obsessed cabal are never going to represent the views and wishes of the people they are elected to serve, they are in fact following an agenda of both their own (greed) and others (Gov carbon CON)

    As you can see from this latest underhanded turn of events – they are never and were never going to give the people a referendom……

    How could they?

    They know what the answer would be!

    Like those in ALL the political parties – when those that are elected to serve the people refuse to represent ALL of the people and follow instead their own agendas, then the people are left with two choices,

    They can either just accept their fate OR they can try and do something to show we know this is rigged and we are having it no more!

    It doesnt matter what letters we write and who in positions of power we go to -they cannot and will not help you!

    I truly believe that the overwhelming MAJORITY of people in Shetland do NOT want the windfarm to go ahead – so lets prove it instead of just talking about it….

    There are approx 22000 people in the islands so lets get ourselves organised and bring the town to a standstill (peacefully and lawfully) by organising the biggest rally and march Shetland has ever seen!

    It can be done, we just need to get off our behinds switch of the Idiot box and link up.

    We have the power – not them – lets take it back!

    REPLY
  • S V Jolly

    • April 27th, 2012 15:40

    I’d have put the figures more like 75% against if I was to go on the people I’d spoken with but unlike Viking Energy, I’d prefer a more solid, reliable way of knowing people’s opinions; namely by means of a referendum.

    REPLY

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