Campaigner’s last-ditch plea: Councillors, ‘be brave’ over Viking Energy windfarm

The vice-chairman of Sustainable Shetland has written a letter to councillors in a last-ditch plea urging them to be “brave” when they consider Viking Energy’s latest planning application.

Members of the SIC’s planning committee will tomorrow (Wednesday) have their say on Viking Energy’s application to extend the size of the turbines for its proposed Central Mainland windfarm. The application has been made to Scottish ministers who will make the final decision but the council is a statutory consultee.

The developer intends to erect 103 turbines and has permission for turbines with a tip height of 145 metres. It wants to increase the maximum tip height to 155 metres. Following the

Sustainable Shetland vice-chairman James Mackenzie.

application to alter the permission already granted there have been calls for a public local inquiry.

A report has been prepared by the planning department for elected members to consider tomorrow. It recommends the council, “as planning authority ‘offer no objections’ to the application, subject to modifications and/or the imposition of approproate conditions or legal obligations as are considered necessary to make the development acceptable…”

Mr Mackenzie argues that the development would have an “unacceptable” impact and those with concerns should have their views respected.

He writes: “Sustainable Shetland, whose membership peaked at c.850 (another unprecedented number, for a local voluntary organisation) was formed not as a result of some rabble-rousing and scaremongering zealots, as some councillors and trustees of Shetland Charitable Trust have tried to smear it, but because folk, including crofters that would gain financially from the development – who would have to live in close proximity to – or indeed within – the windfarm – believed this was unacceptable, and feared their voices were not being listened to by their elected representatives. Many people agreed with them.

“Genuine concerns not just about environmental degradation and loss of amenity, but about health impacts contributed to this unacceptability. The ill-health of people however has been dismissed by the developer as not worthy of consideration, even though there is evidence (commissioned by the developer) that large windfarms do have ill-health effects.”

The campaigner says tomorrow’s meeting is councillors’ last chance “to right the wrongs that have been done to these people, and to declare that the variation to the scheme is unacceptable, for a number of valid reasons.”

He signs off with a plea. “Members, please be brave and grasp this opportunity.”

Shetland Times reporters will be at Wednesday’s meeting with the decision reported online with comprehensive coverage and reaction in Friday’s newspaper.



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