24th March 2019
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Trustees vote to approve £6.3 million for Viking windfarm

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Shetland Charitable Trust has voted to continue its 45 per cent stake in the Viking windfarm project in the hope that its massive projected profits can pull Shetland out of its deepening financial hole.

In addition to investing a further £6.3 million the trust is to commission an independent in-depth study of the health impacts of the 103-turbine project. Talks are to take place to set up a special fund to compensate homeowners living near the turbines who decide to move.

Attempts are also to be made to shift or possibly remove individual turbines which are of most concern to people who will be living near them.

The trustees voted 10-5 today to invest £6.3 million on top of the £3.4 million already spent on Viking. The new investment is its share of the estimated £14 million to be spent by the partners Scottish and Southern Energy and local company Viking Wind to get the windfarm to the final decision stage where contracts can be signed.

The five who voted against the funding, led by George Smith, had proposed instead that only around £3 million be sanctioned at this stage until a clearer picture emerges about the value of the windfarm investment.

Everyone appeared to support the moves to address the concerns of nearby residents and windfarm opponents, although council leader Gary Robinson was convinced SSE would, as he put, continue to ignore the community and its wishes.

The health impact study was proposed by trust vice-chairman Jonathan Wills along with his own motion to approve the £6.3 million.

Mr Robinson said it would be “worthless” unless the findings were acted upon. But trust chairman Drew Ratter said if there were findings which required action then the trust would be “forced to move heaven and earth to act upon them”. The windfarm had been developed on the basis that, according to the Scottish government, there was no health impact from turbines so if the study finds there to be a detrimental impact he expects the government to pick up on that.

Frank Robertson, who is opposed to the windfarm, is now convinced it will go ahead. To try to mitigate some of the concerns of people near the site he called for work to be done to move or remove the most controversial turbines, although they may only be able to move up to 50 metres in any direction without requiring a fresh planning application.

Theo Smith succeeded in persuading the trust to look at setting up a fund to compensate unhappy householders who try to move but find that their properties are devalued. The trust is going to have talks with SSE and Viking Wind about the idea but if the partners decline to get involved the trust may seek to fund it itself.

The meeting in Islesburgh Community Centre was well-conducted by the trustees – in contrast to previous stormy or inquorate sessions about Viking. Recent private seminars about the trust and the Viking project had brought trustees, particularly the new ones, up to speed.

Several dozen members of the public, other than the media, watched the debate via videolink from a separate room. There were no placards, banners or any repeat of previous disruption by protesters.

In the past Dr Wills has made formal objections to proposals for the windfarm when a larger number of turbines were proposed. But he was content to support it now and he thanked those who had “the good sense” to get the trust involved in the first place.

He said the trust would be in a much better position to influence Viking policy if it remained a major shareholder.

He revealed that the windfarm could earn the trust up to £80 million a year from the 2030s after the major capital debt is paid off. Even the prospect of over £20 million a year was at least 10 times what the trust would get if it was to sell its share now, he said.  

Dr Wills condemned the “pretty cynical” move by anti-Viking group Sustainable Shetland to try to halt the windfarm by seeking a judicial review of the government’s consent. No application has been made and, even if it is, the advice given to the trust is that it could not stop the windfarm.

The decision brought to an end months of uncertainty which saw three failed attempts by the trust to debate the matter and the intervention of the charity regulator OSCR to stop a decision being made by trustees in the dying days before the May council election.

Trustees were left in no doubt that failure to pledge the investment by the end of this week would see the trust’s share diluted as Viking Wind or SSE exercised their right to start buying up shares. The £6.3 million was meant to have been agreed six weeks ago to fulfil the trust’s contractual obligations to its partners.

Dr Wills said failure to agree the investment would “seem to people that this is a trust you can’t trust to keep their side of a bargain”.

In conclusion he said: “If we wish to deny our children, grandchildren and indeed our great-grandchildren several hundred millions of pounds’ worth of benefits from the world’s best example of community participation in a large windfarm then I think we need to have better explanations for our posterity than these: ‘I don’t like the look of it’, ‘Some of my council constituents are agin it’, ‘Some turbines are too near some houses, I think, even though they’re twice as far from them as in most windfarms on the UK mainland’, and ‘I don’t approve of the Scottish government’s decision to grant planning permission and I want to make a high profile protest’. That will not do!”

Allan Wishart said the windfarm was “the biggest opportunity that Shetland has ever had in its whole history to make a huge benefit and step-change to the way this community is run in the long term”.

He expects the trust, cash-rich from wind, will bail out the penniless council in the future, building schemes like tunnels to the isles.

Steven Coutts found himself in an unusual position, supporting the investment while also set to be living with his children within two kilometres of turbines in a house that might fall in value. As a trustee he said it was an investment to help Shetland go forward.

Council convener Malcolm Bell said he hated the way the community had been split by the windfarm, describing it as “tragic” and in need of repair. He felt the best way to curb the excesses of the project was for the community to have its own sizeable part of the company and he warned that the worst of all worlds would be hosting a large windfarm which it had no control of with all profits heading out the Sooth Mooth.

In opposing the investment and the windfarm itself, Vaila Wishart attacked the “men in suits” who live in concrete jungles and to whom Shetland’s concerns are irrelevant. She condemned the windfarm as “destruction on a major scale” which was already making people sick with anxiety. The community was being blackmailed into investing in a project which she said was simply a mistake.

Others, like Michael Stout, did not see what control the trust had over SSE and had serious doubts about the “gamble” of investing funds to build the windfarm in Shetland’s difficult conditions and in a difficult economic climate with uncertainties ahead, such as Scottish independence. He said it was “insane” to be talking about huge investment with a partner like SSE who trustees had not even talked to.

Those who voted for the full £6.3 million were: Jonathan Wills, Drew Ratter, Allan Wishart, Malcolm Bell, Gary Cleaver, Steven Coutts, Robert Henderson, Davie Sandison, Frank Robertson and Bobby Hunter.

Those who wanted to sanction just £3 million at this stage were: George Smith, Michael Stout, Vaila Wishart, Gary Robinson and Andrea Manson. Theo Smith abstained.

At the start of the meeting six trustees declared an interest and left the meeting. They were: Billy Fox, Cecil Smith, Allison Duncan, Mark Burgess, Alastair Cooper and Valerie Nicolson.
Mr Smith told trustees he was resigning from the trust because of the incompatibility of being a councillor and a trustee. Mr Fox said he was considering his position. The former chairman of Sustainable Shetland read a lengthy justification of his view that as a councillor-trustee he could not vote about Viking. As a trustee one of his reasons was that he could not support spending trust money on a scheme which would be a “disbenefit” to a significant number of people in the community.

Mr Cooper left because he is a Viking director while Mr Duncan said he was sticking the advice he had received in the past.

Mr Burgess has shares in SSE while Ms Nicolson did not disclose the nature of her personal interest.

Mr Hunter and Mr Wishart declared non-pecuniary interests but decided to take part in the debate and vote.

Two trustees were absent: Amanda Westlake and Peter Campbell.



  1. Johan Adamson

    Should it not have been the SIC rather than SCT who asked for these things? Better late than never for them in any case. Is the money conditional on these things being done?

    Compensate the property owners, let them all move to Lerwick, out of sight out of mind is it?

  2. Jim Fraser

    So when members of the public request a health impact study it’s refused point blank by a VE Director/ Councillor/ Trustee. However when £6.3m is at stake it’s suddenly to be carried out. Did someone say it’s all about money! Disgraceful.

  3. Sandy McMillan

    Councillor Vaila Wishart, new exactly what she was talking about at the Shetland Charitable Trust meeting, some of the other Councillors were confused, Councillor Ratter was more or less telling them what to say, putting word in there mouth, it was a fore gone conclusion, minutes after what was to be a public meeting, SCT Trustees/Councillors at one side of Islesburgh Community Centre, the general public at the other side watching a video link, is there something wrong with the general public, BO perhaps, maybe a infection that only Councillors can catch, some of the Councillors trying to get there point across were halted in there tracks by Councillor Ratter, of course this meeting was no better than any other meeting I have attended, A TOTAL SHAMBLES, to say the least, but best of all a Councillor asking if compensation would be paid to the people directly affected by the Wind Turbines, he was told it could not be brought up at this meeting, it would have to wait until the next one, only one thing on Drew Ratters and Johnathan Wills mind how to get rid of £6.3Million of Shetlanders money, not a care in the world for the public robbing the poor to pay the RICH.
    Sandy McMillan

  4. Gordon Harmer

    Sandy if Councilor Ratter was putting words in other councilors mouths what on earth was Councilor Fox doing in his letter to the Times.
    Its only a shambles because it did not go your way, by the way are you sure you are a true breed Shetlander as you are sounding a bit like Ronaldo.

  5. James Mackenzie

    Dr. Wills is quoted as saying the move by Sustainable Shetland to investigate a judicial review is “pretty cynical”.
    I can assure him that that is far from the truth, and if he had a conscience in this matter, he would choose his words with more care.

  6. Chris Thomson

    The projected financial returns seem incredible, and must fail to take account of the shifting financial climate and likely changes to subsidies and interest rates over the next three decades, if (like me) you think that things are going to get a hell of a lot worse before they get better…

    This whole debacle is a wasted opportunity, and a real failure to understand that renewable technology will need to be used within a economic model focused on self-sustainability, using local resources to offset deficiencies (wind turbines powering food production or an electric transport network in Shetland for example). Shetland might have become a world leader in this new kind of economy, but I fear in 30 years time, it’ll be the textbook example of how NOT to do renewable technology.



  8. Sandy McMillan

    Gordon, I have never heard Ronaldo, but i have seen him play, thats exactly what Councillors Ratter and Wills were doing with OUR money, yes without doubt having a spending spree with other peoples money, I dont know how Councillors Ratter and Wills can sleep at night, Councillor Wills would be better of punting around in the Harbour, than trying to play being a Councillor.
    Sandy McMillan

  9. John Tulloch


    Can du mind diy ain graand-fokk an gret graand-fokk?

    Does du tink hit wid a’ been a wirtwhile ting fur dem til hae taen chances wi’ der money sae at dey tocht at du wid be as weel aff noo as dey wir dan?

    Na, I doot no, min.

  10. Douglas Young

    Perhaps now is the time for OSCR to examine all previous meetings to see if they were quorate as no newspapers seem too interested?

  11. ian tinkler

    CAVY JOHNSON, if your dreams come to fruition will you tell your children and grandchildren just how many people were hurt establishing their easy monies and wealthy lifestyle? Let them know just how Shetland was turned from a wildlife heaven into a concrete wasteland. Enjoy your riches and easy wealth but one day think and just try and count the true cost.

  12. Gordon Harmer

    John, Cavy’s grand folk and great grand folk took chances with their lives, not their money in two world wars as did thousands of grand and great grand folk. They did this so that most people could have a good life and by what ever means provide a good life for their grand and great grand children. They also won the right of free speach even for vociferous exiled know it all’s.

  13. ian tinkler

    I notice that Dr. Wills has “The Dunter 3” and his Eco Business “Seabirds-and Seals” up for sail. The new owner to be freely advised on Shetland wildlife. How about a new name for the Dunter 3, “Turbines- Wind-Farms-and Defunct-Oil -Rigs”, I wish the new owner well and good luck, he or she may need it if the good Dr. has his way. From a cynic and true nature lover. Enjoy your retirement Dr. Wills.

  14. John Tulloch


    Careful, you’re just a whisker away from calling me a “Sooth-moother.” (“Half-moother”?)

    There’s very little I know that I haven’t learned from others. I’m open to persuasion by reasoned argument and I listen to others’ opinions and (barring the odd outburst of fury) usually make my own mind up BEFORE I speak.

    I know nothing at all about Cavy’s ancestors however I do know about my own and what I’m getting at is that due to progress we are, in general, far better off than our great grandparents and for Da Cooncil then-a-days to have risked its money for our sakes would have been pretty silly.

    Much the same will likely apply to this council and the future – progress and their own ingenuity and hard work will look after our descendants, as they have done our ancestors and ourselves.

  15. Johan Adamson

    Now is the time for OSCR to examine whether or not this meeting was conducted correctly with those who should have, declaring a conflict of interest. This decision could be taken with the Trust made up of non-councillors. Deferring a decision was a worthwhile decision, deferring until there was more facts and different Trustees.

    The judicial review is not a cynical move, but I note that councillor Wills said so. It will ensure that there is someone looking out for fairness in all this without a profit motive.

  16. Rosa Steppanova

    Envy south of Sumburgh? What’s Cavy got against the good folk of Fair Isle?

  17. Gerald Cate

    If anyone is considering selling their house (with appropriate compensation from SCT) because they don’t like the idea of the wind farm, please will they sell them to me? Then I can sell them again at a profit, when they return to their former value shortly after the wind farm is completed.

  18. Ron Stronach

    I certainly would not like to see hundreds of these windmills turning away in Shetland, it will spoil what we have. However, I cannot see what other decision the SCT could have made other than the one they did.
    It looks more likely than not that the windfarm will go ahead in some form, so lets ensure that if its going to be in Shetland, then let Shetland profit from it and not people from elsewhere.

    They might even blow over in the winds we get, unlike this issue today.

  19. Gordon Harmer

    John, I would never call you a Sooth-moother for a Shetlander you definitely are but you are an ex resident of Shetland. You have rights to opinions and a right to express those opinions, most of the time you do this quite eloquently. Sometimes you get over opinionated for example your recent comment referring to the trust fund as ‘our money’. John it is our money, with our being the operative word as in Shetland resident’s money, not ex resident’s money.

    We have been done proud by the ZCC and the SIC and we have facilities second to none thanks to them and a decision has just been made to ensure our grand children have the same. I get wound up when someone who has moved away from Shetland tries to extract the proverbial out of a local’s public “thank you” to the trust for making a historical decision which will benefit their grand children. What’s even more annoying is when someone who has made the transition in the opposite direction does exactly the same in a column they have declared biased. Voice an opinion by all means but to attack an editorial team because they are not sycophants and yes men to your cause is dictatorial.

  20. John Tulloch


    Your usual “scatter-gun approach leaves me wondering which red herring to tackle first – it could take more than one reply.

    OK. First, I’d say Cavy is “broad enioch ida back ta tak my coarn o’ skyimp itae his stride.”

    Second, in his book “An Appeal to Reason” Lord (Nigel) Lawson uses figures from the UK government’s notorious Stern Review of the economic impacts of climate change to calculate that the bottom end of expectations for our great-grandchildren in 100 years time is that they will be, at least, 2.6 times better off than we are now.

    I rest my case

  21. John Tulloch


    One important point I must pick up on is that you say it’s wrong for me to be rude to Cavy but it’s ok for you to be rude to me? You add that it’s wrong (“dictatorial”) for me to offer polite criticism of one aspect of the ST amidst a shower of praise for its overall quality versus what we have on the Scottish Mainland yet it seems ok for Shetland residents to be extremely rude about their paper.

    Correct me if I’m wrong however it appears you are operating one set of rules for residents and another for non-residents.

    Would you say that approach is fair and democratic?

  22. John Tulloch


    I have never criticised the achievement of the ZCC in establishing the oil funds.

    I am on record in the Shetland News praising the leadership provided by the Dept of Leisure and Recreation in the 1980s when they provided the vision of sporting participation and success for anyone who wanted to, leading to the amazing results we read of in the local news every week.

    When the ZCC negotiators went to meet with BP the Shetland people did not want the oil terminal and when BP laid out their meagre offer the Shetland team were delighted because they could refuse it and walk away.

    Of course, they were stopped at the door and taken back in to see the real deal that was finally accepted and of which you rightly approve.

    The reason they got such a good deal was because they listened to their community as opposed to falling over themselves to get the money.

  23. John Tulloch


    You make a point of me saying “our” when I am not a resident and I hear what you are saying.

    I am still a Shetlander and I care about what happens to Shetland and Shetlanders. I lived there for over 40 years and so did my late mam and dad.

    My children were brought up there and I still have many relatives living there.

    I may well return sometime in the future in which case I may even stand for Da Cooncil – so get on your bike!

  24. Gordon Harmer

    Typical John, you have not read what is written, the dictatorial attack was not at you (partly my fault I should have put their cause not your cause).
    Just because some ex Tory Minister has written something in a book does not make it gospel, that’s worse than quoting the Web (something you’ve had a go at folk for).
    Ian Clark and Co got such a good deal because they were wise and didn’t listen to the negative minority in Shetland as did the trustees yesterday.
    You have handed out insults in my direction in the past that makes your shoulders big enough to accept them.
    As for you coming back here and standing for the council, learn from the mistakes of other negative know it all’s, bide where you are.
    Finally it’s still our money and to be told what to do with it by someone who quotes Nigel Lawson is a joke.

  25. Gordon Harmer

    John I can’t get over you quoting Nigel Lawson to make a point, Baron Nigel, a life peer something you are so against. Chancellor Nigel, a sworn monetarist, someone who would have strongly advised the SCT to invest the 6.3 million. Nigel speaks about climate change and he’s suddenly the man for you and you quote him. You rest what case; you haven’t got one, as all you have done is cherry pick information to make a bad case.

    John don’t ever expect me to take you seriously again, you are obviously well read and kind of intelligent but you take every one else for fools.

  26. Kathy Greaves

    I empathise with John Tulloch’s position – being a returned expat myself, twelve years ago I feel much more connected to my roots than I did as a youngster when I left home for the first time many years ago. Everything that happens here is important to me now. They say that there are few more patriotic than an ex-pat.

    Travelling and living amongst others gives a broader view of the world, gives a better understanding of how other communities work and live together, ‘how the system works’ . Shows us that they, and we, don’t have to put up with a system which is not working as the community, the citizens, would want it. Sometimes it takes a long time for the revolution to happen.

    So many people have said to me ‘du’ll never change things here, dirs nae point in sayin onything, we nivver spik oot, hits da Shetlan’ way’.

    Well, Shetlanders should speak out, they should be allowed to voice their opinions and those in power should listen – it’s their job.

    Real debate, whether by letters to the local paper, online, or at open public meetings, gives the opportunity for facts to be put forward, and everyone’s point of view to be understood. This also gives the chance for people to change their minds too if all the relevant facts are known.

    I think that it is very wrong if those who are elected to represent us do nothing more than use their position/s as a means of increasing their own power, of creating an even stronger, unassailable, platform on which to further their own causes.

    And we know who they are.

    Kathy Greaves

  27. John Tulloch

    Thanks Kathy, well put.

    Gordon, I invited you to correct me if I was wrong about your double standards for residents’ versus non-residents’ democratic rights and as you haven’t done so I will assume that is your position.

  28. Gordon Harmer

    John, you should be a politician not a councillor, the way you twist and spin what people say. Sure you have democratic rights, but when you sign off a trawler you don’t get a share of the next or any future catch.

    You are entitled to an opinion (as I have said before) on OUR money but you have no say as to what happens to it, as you didn’t have a vote in the last election. We who live here made that decision by voting in councillors who would make the best choices for Shetland’s future.

    John, you are the double standards champion by quoting a monetarist and life peer on climate change. He lives up to your standards on one subject but fails miserably on two others. Oh and by the way to become a councillor up here people would need to vote for you, I don’t think six votes would be enough.

    I agree with most of what Kathy says, as I have spent nearly half my life living and working on the mainland. One thing that that has taught me is, in comparison to folk on the mainland, we are so well off; thanks to the actions and work of the ZCC and SIC. Having said that, Kathy lets herself down by talking about facts and then spouts slanderous rubbish in her last paragraph. She seems to forget we, the Shetland voters, have just put those councillors in office because most of us wanted them there. For her statement to be true they would have to have put themselves there.

  29. John Tulloch


    You will recall from previous correspondence that, while I disapprove of the monarchy system, there are many things about the royal family of which I approve and even admire and much the same goes for the House of Lords.

    Disapproving of the way people are appointed into such positions doesn’t make it a double standard to quote them when they say something intelligent. Having the title “Lord” doesn’t in itself give credibility.

    Lawson, however, is a professional economist who obrtained a first class honours degree at Oxford, made a career in economic journalism and became Chancellor of the Exchequer. His calculation was intended to obtain the worst case outcome from the government’s own figures and I expect he likely knew how to do the sum.

    Incidentally, he was also taking into account Lord Stern’s estimate of the ravages of “climate change” so I expect the great-grand-kids will do just fine.

    “An I canna be boddert ta kerp ony mair!”

  30. Gordon Harmer

    You had a go about Lady Thatcher being a life peer (wrong again) as pointed out to you during your rant about the royal family. I am well aware of Lawsons credentials, but it doesn’t alter the fact you have an opinion but no say in how OUR money is spent. Point made!

  31. Kathy Greaves

    Gordon – you are not understanding what you read. You say that ” the Shetland voters, have just put those councillors in office because most of us wanted them there”. That is not true; I would say that the very low turn out to vote in some areas was due to lack of support and/or belief in some of those standing. Hardly ‘most of us wanted them there’. It seems that one or two were elected by default. Check the figures.

    And you should not accuse me of slander (or libel), as we both know that in this small community there is little that can be hidden from the public – and that is what I am saying here. Especially when ‘they’ make a point of pushing forward their own pet projects – we just need to follow the local media to find that out.

  32. Gordon Harmer

    Kathy, if you are so sure and confident name names and projects and show the proof. As for turnout in the election, over 60% up here compared to just above half that for the national average.

  33. Kathy Greaves

    Gordon, as I am sure that you have total confidence in all our councillors, past and present, you must believe what you must, and I shall do likewise. Time will tell.

    I do not remember a 60% turnout throughout Shetland at the last elections; if I am wrong I shall apologise. If not….

  34. Gordon Harmer

    No Kathy, I believe what I see as facts, not rhetoric and spin. So you’re not prepared to put your money where your mouth is, kind of sums up most of your posts on this and other web sites.
    I am nearly sure that there was over 60% turn out here in Brae, some other wards just over 40% but on average over 50% I believe. If anybody was elected by default with those percentages where does that leave Sustainable Shetland with a membership of around 4 or 5% of the Shetland population? Is it a case of for democracy, read, the most vociferous have the say.

  35. John Tulloch


    Membership of the UK Conservative Party was reportedly 177,000 in 2011 or about 3%.

    That makes Sustainable Shetland’s membership of 4 or 5% of the Shetland population seem like rather a lot.


  36. John Tulloch

    Correction: I thought that didn’t look quite right, I must have missed a zero on my calculator – the correct figure for 2011 Conservative Party membership (177,000) is, of course, 0.3% of the UK population which makes Sustainable Shetland’s 4 or 5% of the Shetland population seem “lik a braa twartree.”

  37. Gordon Harmer

    Wise up John you don’t have to be a member to vote for a party so hardly relevant. If you are going to go down that road Ian Tinkler stood on and anti wind farm platform and did not get in. Billy Fox, all so anti wind farm, to use Kathy’s analogy only got in by default.

  38. John Tulloch


    ACE, “the electoral knowledge network,” provides the following;-

    “A political party is defined as an organised group of people with at least roughly similar political aims and opinions, that seeks to influence public policy by getting its candidates elected to public office.”

    It seems to me Sustainable Shetland meets that definition.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, when Billy Fox was Chairman of Sustainable Shetland he stood for election to the Scottish Parliament and came second to long-sitting MSP Tavish Scott with 2845 votes, did he not?

    So, yes, I agree. As you say, “… you don’t have to be a member to vote for a party ..” . However, given the above, I can’t agree it’s irrelevant since a great many non-members of Sustainable Shetland must have voted for Mr Fox.

    Given that the constituency covers Orkney and Shetland together and that it’s unlikely Mr Fox received many votes in Orkney, it’s entirely possible that he might have taken the highest number of votes in Shetland – hardly to be dismissed by anyone purporting to be a democrat. Of course, your track record is a bit patchy in that regard.


  39. Gordon Harmer

    John, firstly when Billy Fox stood for the council he gave up his position in Sustainable Shetland, so your first paragraph, out the window.

    Secondly when Billy stood for the Scottish Parliament, he stated he was not a one issue candidate (one issue i.e. wind farm), so the rest of your argument, out of the window.

    As for me not being a democrat, just because you use the word democrat in your long winded supercilious nonsense, does not mean you understand its definition.

    John you’re a well read person, tell me does being supercilious make you the “Svengali” of this web site?

  40. John Tulloch


    Forgive me if I don’t descend into one of your “super-silly-us” debating food fights, I’d prefer to stick to the point in question.

    Please note the following from the “Aims and Objectives” section of Sustainable Shetland’s constitution:
    2. c. “To support social, environmental and economic sustainability in Shetland.”
    3. a. “The group will undertake research, lobbying and general campaigning activities”
    3. b. “Other activities, in furtherance of the aims…of the group, shall also be undertaken from time to time as the members see fit.”

    These “activities” don’t appear to preclude standing for public office and their chairman Mr Fox stood as a candidate in the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections; and had the election been restricted to Shetland he might easily have unseated the Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Tavish Scott.

    A small (in national terms) organisation that doesn’t have the backing of big business or big government (local or national), is run by volunteers and has only been in existence since 2008, could hardly be expected to go through the rigmarole of registering, raising funds, etc., needed at short notice to qualify as an “officially-registered” political party and put candidates up in elections.

    You might also reflect that while, as you will recall, my opinions diverge widely from Sustainable Shetland’s in some key areas, I respect the way they do their business and advance their arguments – any democrat with an open mind would commend, not belittle, their remarkable achievements to date.


  41. Gordon Harmer

    John, most important of all Billy stood as an Independent, so according to you he has one member in his party.

  42. Gordon Harmer

    John you should also research your facts a bit better as the election Billy took part in was for Holyrood which has a single seat for Shetland (Tavish Scott) and a single seat for Orkney (Liam McArthur). Only the Westminster seat held by Alistair Carmichael is Shetland and Orkney.
    Now who is being supper-silly-us?

  43. John Tulloch


    I apologise to readers for leaving you an escape hatch, thus needlessly prolonging this exchange.

    Many years ago as an angler I learned it was considered sporting to give a hooked fish a last run to sea, before finally pulling it, “sprikklin’ ower da ebb stanes.”

    So in that spirit – “sport” concluded – I’ll remind you why you’re “on the hook” and can’t get off – you belittled Sustainable Shetland’s levels of membership and support and I have shown that both levels are actually considerable.

    So no more attempts to swim into the tangles, no more red herrings, you’re on the beach, high and dry!

    Don’t worry, I always let ones like you back into the water – so they can be caught again!

    I haven’t much to add to that and anyway, “I have bigger fish to fry.”

    Adios for now.

  44. Gordon Harmer

    John, how nice of you to grace your readers (followers/subjects) with such a condescending apology. Any credible debater would have apologised for being wrong (AGAIN).

    As an angler you have also learned how to exaggerate to bolster your lack of abilities in hooking and landing a fish bigger and wiser than yourself. I actually liked the little fishy story, along with the Captain Pugwash story in the Times, it made me think you should take up writing fiction. Then I remembered; you do write fiction, there is a lot of it in this column, in the Times and on the Shetland News web site.

    John in my view Sustainable Shetland are a disgrace. They are negative, reactive and don’t represent the people they claim to. They are needed but they need to be positive, proactive and need to represent people who face the threat of turbines in their back yard. They are more concerned with exaggerating membership numbers to the extent of claiming a majority of Shetlanders are with them, along with spouting rhetoric and scaremongering regarding the environmental and health effects of a wind farm.

    Vikings wind farm is coming, a fact everyone has to face and Sustainable Shetland would do better gathering support to make sure turbines are not placed close to people’s homes. They are far too involved in the politics of finance and decrying wise investors who stand to make a pound or two. People who hate turbines are going to have them in their back yards, these people have real concerns and they need to be addressed. If Sustainable Shetland mounted a proactive and positive campaign they would gain the support of many wind farm supporters.

  45. James Mackenzie

    “John in my view Sustainable Shetland are a disgrace. They are negative, reactive and don’t represent the people they claim to. They are needed but they need to be positive, proactive and need to represent people who face the threat of turbines in their back yard. They are more concerned with exaggerating membership numbers to the extent of claiming a majority of Shetlanders are with them, along with spouting rhetoric and scaremongering regarding the environmental and health effects of a wind farm.”
    Exaggerating membership numbers? That’s a potentially libellous statement. And what evidence does Mr, Harmer have that “they [sic] don’t represent the people they claim to”?
    Thanks at least to Mr. Harmer for acknowledging that Sustainable Shetland “are needed”, even if they “are a disgrace.”. With respect, who needs a disgrace?
    As to “the threat of turbines in their back yard”, what difference will moving them 50 metres, as Shetland Charitable Trust stated would be the maximum distance possible, from their proposed locations have on those residents who are, if not anxious or frightened, at least concerned?
    Can Mr. Harmer accuse SNH, RSPB, Shetland Amenity Trust, Shetland Bird Club, among others, of “scaremongering” about environmental concerns?
    As for health effects, even SCT has recognised this is an issue that needs to be addressed – though sadly too late to make a blind bit of difference.

  46. John Tulloch


    Still thrashing around furiously, lashing out in all directions – to no avail, the point is settled – SuS has a large membership and substantial support.

    You’re well up the beach now and James is between you and the water so stop sprikklin among da stanes, you’ll only damage your scales and you’ll be all dishevelled when we return you to the sea.

    Let us get you off the hook and slip you back in while you still have breath to swim away unaided.

  47. Gordon Harmer

    I rest my case, “though sadly too late to make a blind bit if difference”100% negative. I am sure the people with the threat of turbines in their back yard need to hear that. James there was a debate on here a few months ago with both sides claiming more support and members than the other so hardly libellous.

    What is wrong with Sustainable Shetland? Instead of winging why not get off your butt and do something for the people directly affected. You used to have a photographer at your head so why not use his skills. With a bit of photo shop, produce a poster to bring to light the plight of people with turbines in their back yards.

    These folk reading what you have just written can’t hold out much hope. You obviously prefer politics and rhetoric to sensible and positive action. 6.3 million pounds has just been invested in our name and for our good, so instead of name calling councillors, trustees, directors, and supporters, open a positive dialog with them. Get some of that 6.3 million used on helping to allay the fears of people living in the direct shadow of turbines.

    People who will live under the turbines have the internet, Sustainable Shetland and the Viking web site to learn about the pros and cons of living close to a wind farm, each contradicting one another and drawing a very confusing picture for those directly affected. James, have you read some of the letters from people who will be living in the shadow of a turbine or a group of turbines. Passionate letter’s full of fear because they don’t know what the future holds for them. Why is Sustainable Shetland not putting pressure on the developers to use some of that money to send the directly affected families down the road to see a wind farm of a similar size to the Viking wind farm? Take them to see a wind farm being constructed it may just allay some of their fears. Before you say it, I know it may not but it is a positive step.

    I support the wind farm, I like wind turbines, I find them aesthetically pleasing. I have been to wind farms on the mainland. I have heard how quiet modern turbines are and seeing the slow speed of a large turbine rotating I cant imagine where the claims of flicker come from. Only two weeks ago I was looking at a wind farm under construction near Abingdon on the M74. I would have no fear of having a turbine both behind and in front of my house (at a correct distance). My mind has not been made up by listening to two sides of a debate and conflicting information on the internet.

    Another positive step would be to open a dialog with the developers on using some of the money to apply for planning to resite some of the turbines. I don’t know if that is possible now, but it is better than what you have been doing. Work with the developers and the community to make changes I am sure Sustainable Shetland will gain more support and respect. Then at least you would live up to the name you have given yourselves.

    I apologise for being long winded, but I feel if you were more positive and proactive you would gain more support and respect from the wider community, supporters and developers. But most importantly, hope for those who dislike turbines and may end up with one in their back yard.

  48. Lorraine Hunter

    Why give compensation to those who choose to move, what about compensation for those who love where they stay and do not want to move???

  49. alastair ball

    Looks like the racism is Shetland continues – I didn’t know that the the turbines affected “true born” shetlanders more than “sooth moothers”. Its a disgrace that the shetland times allows this type of discrimination to continue.

  50. Ron Stronach

    The only racisim I see here are comments like yours Alastair Ball.
    The term Sooth Moother has never been a racist term.

    It simply means someone who came in the South Mouth! If you live there, and are a Sooth Moother dont take offence, live with it.

  51. Una. Collin

    Could someone please tell me just who Sustainable Shetland actually are. I have lived in Shetland for six years now and I have seen no evidence of their work. Sustainable Shetland projects an image of a group who care about the environment, I don’t see the evidence. They seem to be obsessed by the Viking wind farm while other large construction projects which affect the environment go unmentioned. I see Sustainable Shetland as a platform for Viking wind farm objectors to voice an opinion and some to fulfil personal agendas. I have not seen any alternative suggestions to the windfarm put forward by them or have I missed this?

  52. John Kryton

    .John Tullock it looks to me that you are the one baited then caught hook line and sinker. You have had an “Adios for now” and an “An I canna be boddert ta kerp ony mair” and you are still here,
    Gordon is the expert fisherman here baiting you catching you then throwing you back more than once. He has actually filleted you and got you in the pan already.

  53. Sandy McMillan

    Gordon, you have just proofed my point, any one who likes Wind Farms, have totally lost the plot, you really need to think twice before spurting of yon garbage.
    Sandy McMillan

  54. Gordon Harmer

    Sandy maybe I am not speaking from the experienced position “like wat you is”.

    You will of course be speaking from a position of having visited several wind farms of similar size to the proposed Viking project. I bow to your superior knowledge and intellect and will retreat to my corner to reconsider my position.

    Do you think I should get in touch with the council about my garbage problem?

  55. Sandy McMillan

    Yes dear boy I have made a visit or two, to wind farms, nothing in size of the PROPOSED monstrosities, that SSE and VE, I will phrase that last few words, nothing in size of the ones that the Shetland Charitable Trust propose to erect, with money that does not belong to them, I think the Shetland Charitable Trust forget they hold this money in Trust for the people of Shetland, so therefore they the SCT should ask the people of Shetland if they can use our, money, dont you agree Gordon.
    Sandy McMillan

  56. Sandy McMillan

    If the Shetland Island Council are in partnership with Scottish and Southern Energy, Viking Energy, and Viking Energy Limited, does this not make all 21 Councillors having a interest in the wind farm project, so therefore all of the Councillors 0n the committee of the Shetland Charitable Trust should declare an interest in the project, this surely would take away there voting rights, when dealing with any concerns to do with SSE, VE and VEL. (Can someone put me in the picture with the above)
    Sandy McMillan

  57. Johan Adamson

    I think it is VEL who are in partnership with SSE. The SCT invests in VEL. VEL are going to pay the SIC as landowner I think if this goes ahead.

  58. Sandy McMillan

    Johan, Does this not mean in a round about way the SIC, Are in partnership with VE, VEL, which leads to having a partnership with SSE, As the SIC hold the TRUMP card when it comes to the SCT, would this not give Shetland Island Council a shares in the consortium, in the beginining the SIC gave VE a few £million to get them going and also sighed into a contract which as far as i know the only way the SIC can get out is to forfeit these £millions or try to sell there way out, Johan, or any one, i would like to hear your opinion.
    Sandy McMillan

  59. Johan Adamson

    Yes, if it were a company and you saw it in terms of shares, SIC control 100% of SCT which own/control a % of VEL. I think it is a controlling shareholding of VEL the SCT own but I cant remember (it would need to be).


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