24th May 2019
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

‘No windfarm’ protection for North Roe

16 comments, , by , in News

An area around Ronas Hill and North Roe is likely to be the only place in Shetland designated as wild land, protecting it from developments including windfarms.

The 5,000 hectare zone is one of 43 “core areas” of wild character in Scotland which Scottish Natural Heritage believes should be protected, along with National Parks and National Scenic Areas.

The proposal to safeguard land comes in a draft national planning framework, written by MSP Derek Mackay, minister for local government and planning, and is open to consultation until 23rd July. The document has two themes: to allow “sustainable economic growth” and to allow the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Mr Mackay said SNH mapping would inform planning guidance for windfarms, and the new proposal would mean 31 per cent of Scotland would be excluded from windfarm development, including the existing 19 per cent covered by National Parks and National Scenic Areas. The document also suggests areas for marine renewable energy, and describes the proposed expansion of Aberdeen Harbour as being of national significance, as well as to Shetland, Orkney and the North East of Scotland.

The document will be finalised next year.



  1. ian tinkler

    Wow, 69% of Shetland could become a windfarm once the VE interconnector is built. Thank God I will probably not live long enough to see it. Nice one Drew and John.

  2. ian tinkler

    Sorry miss read that 95% plus of Shetland could become a windfarm .

  3. john Irvine

    I suspect the majority of Shetland folk are very much against VE, the small minority don`t give a hoot about the poor souls who are going to live near these monstrosities, their quality of life ruined, the value of the properties, don`t care about the damage done to our beautiful isle or the inevitable and irreversible damage done to the wildlife, they do not care about the millions out of the charitable trust which will be down the drain.
    It is now time to call a halt on any more money being poured into this utter madness called VE, do the research yourselves look into why windfarms are so inefficient and destructive. Why do we not look at tidal energy? it would be a continuous source of power unlike both wind and wave.

  4. Sandy McMillan

    Ian you may as well make it a 100% that’s most probably the way it will end up, what a waste of money and a beautiful Island, all for the sake of a light bulb,

  5. Morris Williamson

    Splendid News!

  6. Douglas Young

    One of the largest, rarest areas of blanket peat bog in Europe, the Kames is not wild?

  7. Sam A Squatch

    Now we know whose tunes which the (S)cottish (N)ation(ur)al Heritage (P)lays; and I thought they decided on policy independently, wrong, this new planning policy has been written for them by an SNP minister…they are now pointless quango.

  8. Damien Ristori

    I hope the following scenic areas will be protected as well – Eshaness, Heylor, Mangaster, Nibon, Hillswick & South Nesting areas including Loch of Girlsta, Brunt Hamersland, Catfirth, Gletness, Eswick, Vassa & Quoys.

    Quite a few places I’ve named but they all need to be kept free on unwanted clutter.

  9. James Mackenzie

    The rationale for SNH’s wild land ‘designation’ can be found here:


    The main criteria were:
    • The perceived naturalness of the land cover
    • The ruggedness of the terrain which is therefore challenging to cross
    • Remoteness from public roads or ferries
    • The visible lack of buildings, roads, pylons and other modern artefacts

    Some of these might seem to be irrelevant or inappropriate, or dare I say it, subjective, in the context of Shetland’s geography.

  10. ian tinkler

    Salmond has been in power long enough to have his puppies all in place. SNH appointments are now all well at heal of our new king Canute of Hoylrude. Fortunately EU directives on Turbines are all in place alongside Bird Directives and so on… Lots to fight for yet, especially as this clown has had his day.

  11. Johan Adamson

    So by the criteria as James has written, if the windfarm had gone ahead a while ago, we would have not had any land in this wild land category. Is this an admission then that land (Scotland) might be spoiled by the development of windfarms, therefore they are not environmentally friendly?

  12. Sandy McMillan

    Pray tell me what is so special around the areas of Ronas Hill and North Roe, that make these areas except from having wind farms, surely all areas of Shetland is very special to the residents, one writer I believe said that the Lang kames was a precious area, every area of Shetland is precious, both to its residents and Tourism, there is no where on Shetland suitable for these proposed wind farms

  13. Sandy McDonald

    If you have been up the back of Ronas hill you can see why it may be set apart. There is no better area I can think of for hiking and fishing. You feel like you are on a different planet, the remoteness and scenery are breathtaking. The geology of the area is also fascinating.

    I can understand Sandy’s comment however. From the top of Ronas I am sure you would be able to count all the turbines.

  14. David Spence

    The proposed VE Project is highly questionable if you look at the costs and the returns.

    I believe, and no doubt I shall corrected, the VE Project will cost around £600 – £700 million with the CT putting all its eggs into one basket (the VE Project). As far as I am aware, the return for the CT will be around £20 – £23 million a year.

    Everybody knows (if you take into account the Dome (5 times over budget) The Scottish Parliament (10 times over budget) and the fiasco of the Tram Project in Edinburgh (3 times over budget) it is more than likely the costs of the VE Project (not taking into account the odd million that will go into the pockets of ……) will escalate to double, triple or more…..thus the project, more than likely, costing around the £1.5 – £2.0 billion. Roughly based on these figures, the return for the CT will be around 1% – 2% …… not a very good investment I would say. Even in the life time of the project, the CT will not get their money back.

    It seems very obvious that there is something else in the equation that we are not being told about…….I would say?

    Ian (Tinkler) could you throw any light onto this fiasco of the VE Project and the potential costs projected and the return for the CT please?

  15. Philip smith

    Ronas Hill-North Roe-Tingon RAMSAR site
    Special protection Area EC Directive,SSSI, comprises two adjacent headlines separated by Ronas Voe.
    Most of the site is composed of active blanket bog with numerous acidic Lochans and pools that support a typical peatland avifauna. It provides habitat for common seals and otter and the invertebrate includes the Artic Water flea.
    WHY hasn’t the Tingon part of this been included in this designated “WIld Land”.

    Question to SNH, can industrial wind farms be allowed on Ramsar sites.?

    Phil Smith, HIllswick.

  16. Ian Tinkler

    David, the cost I am looking at is the destruction of the eco system, enviroment, bioolgy and all that involves.


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