Sustainable Shetland campaign goes national

Sustainable Shetland is launching a campaign to raise funds for legal costs in its battle against the Viking Energy windfarm.

Sustainable Shetland is widening its appeal for funds to a national audience.
Sustainable Shetland is widening its appeal for funds to a national audience.

The group wants to raise £20,000 over an eight-week period to help fund its challenge to the Scottish Ministers’ appeal against Lady Clark’s decision last year.

Scottish ministers gave the go-ahead for the construction of the 103-turbine Viking windfarm but Sustainable Shetland went to the Court of Session to successfully challenge the decision to grant consent for the £556 million pro­ject.

Lady Clark ruled the minsters’ decision should be set aside. During the hearing it emerged Viking Energy did not have a licence or an exemption in terms of electricity legislation.

The judge ruled that on a proper construction of the legislation only a licence holder or someone with an authorised exemption could make such an application.

Lady Clark said it was plain from the legislation that the licensing and exemption provisions were the means by which Parliament intended to regulate the industry.

She also held that a decision-maker in such cases was required to take account of the 2009 European Birds Directive and said: “In my opinion that should be the starting point for consideration of the facts by the decision-maker and there is no suggestion in this decision that was done.”

But with the appeal hearing being held next month, chairman of Sustainable Shetland Frank Hay, has called for further backing.

He said the group was “amazed and humbled” by the financial support received to fund the judicial review last year.

“Despite the fact that the hearing was extended from four days to 14, due to circumstances outside our control, we managed to pay for it in full through fund-raising and don­ation (and without major bene­factor) – a total of nearly £100,000.

“This shows a great strength of feeling against the Viking Energy Windfarm among our members and indeed the wider Shetland com­munity.

“However, the battle is not over and we estimate that we may need to raise as much as a further £40,000 to fund our challenge to the ministers’ appeal.

“For this reason, we believe it is time to cast our net wider. Wind­farms are a national issue, and there are many throughout the UK who feel strongly that in some cases ‘big energy’ interests are damaging our environment rather than improving it.

“We hope that people around the country will show their support for our cause, which has nationwide implications regarding large scale windfarm developments and the protection of breeding bird species.”

Funds are being raised online through a website at and the group believes it may be the first Crowdfunder campaign in Shetland.


Add Your Comment
  • john irvine

    • January 16th, 2014 21:41

    The whole viking energy idea is akin to rape of our beautiful islands, the megalomaniacs pushing hard for this are only in it for themselves, if this insane project was to go ahead not only would it destroy our landscape and nature but would almost certainly bankrupt us.

    Here`s hoping common sense prevails and sustainable Shetland gets all the support it deserves.

  • David Spence

    • January 17th, 2014 12:43

    You are correct John, Viking Energy are your typical short term thinking capitalists, who are only looking to make the quick buck regardless to the damage to the environment, eco-systems and tourism. As for the benefits for Shetland, what a total joke that is if you compare it to the total cost of £556 million it is reputed to be…….I would say you could easily triple if not quadruple the costs of such a project……certainly well over the £1 billion mark as a start.

    Lets hope Viking Energy don’t change their minds and suggest another project of ‘ Fracking the landscape of Shetland ‘. lol

  • stephen shirmer

    • January 17th, 2014 15:46

    Having spent half a lifetime living in the islands and feel quite passionate about the landscape and the people who live there,

    I do agree that investing in alternative energy could be a risk, though following the saga of the Shetland islands council and there inability to balance the books and more to the point, in the years to come it will become difficult- as nothing ever gets any cheaper ! & as for depending on volatile oil and gas prices as a future income that is any-ones guess where the markets may go !

    Perhaps a marked down scale of a wind farm/alternative energies is better than economic decline due to the vagaries of stock markets and of natural resources that will eventually decline, one constant thing in Shetland is the wind.

    Sometimes one feels if they could get petrol out of sea water there would be someone against that too.


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