An open letter to the trustees of Shetland Charitable Trust:
I am writing to you as vice-chairman of Sustainable Shetland, a voluntary organisation which was set up in 2008 to oppose the Viking windfarm. Since then its membership has grown in numbers to 838 at present. Sustainable Shetland is not opposed to renewable energy developments, nor to windfarms in general, but considers this particular development, even in its present reduced size, to be inappropriate for Shetland in terms of its scale and impact.
I wish to remind you that in a petition, presented to Shetland Islands Council in 2009, over 3,470 people objected to this development going ahead. And 2,772 people, far more than those who expressed support, as well as several organisations, including Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB, John Muir Trust, and Shetland Amenity Trust, objected to the planning application in its addendum form.
This substantial opposition has been ignored or disregarded, in favour of unsubstantiated predictions of economic benefits for the Shetland community and contributions to Scottish renewable energy targets.
As you know, a substantial number of people will be adversely affected by the proximity of the proposed turbines to their dwellings. Their worries about the impact on their health, amenity and property values have again been completely disregarded by all parties interested in the Viking windfarm.
I would also remind you that at the Shetland Islands Council meeting of 14th December 2010, the following was minuted: “Several members expressed concern regarding the comments made on the proximity of the windfarm to settlements and the possible effects on health, and noted that there [sic] possible measures that could be taken to measure these effects or minimise their impact.
“In this regard, Mrs B Fullerton, asked that ‘and health’ impacts be added to the motion, in order that any consents also address community concerns relating to the proximity of the turbines to homes. Mr R Nickerson, with the consent of his seconder, agreed to this addition.”
Nothing in the Scottish ministers’ consent addresses these concerns, indeed the word “health” is not mentioned at all in their considerations in the decision letter of 4th April 2012.
Shetland Charitable Trust’s website states:
• “The Shetland Charitable Trust is a charity set up to benefit the inhabitants of Shetland.”
• “Our aim is to provide public benefit to and improve the quality of life for the people of Shetland.”
It is our firm belief that unconditional financial support for Viking windfarm contravenes the aims and objectives of Shetland Charitable Trust in relation to those individuals or communities who would be adversely affected by this proposed development.
We also believe that the financial projections are unrealistic and expose the funds held in trust for the population of Shetland to unnecessary risk.
I therefore urge the trustees of Shetland Charitable Trust not to give any further funding to Viking Energy.