Planning committee backs Mossy Hill windfarm
Councillors serving on the SIC’s planning committee have given a majority backing to the Mossy Hill windfarm.
Members voted six-two in favour of the development, but called for added conditions relating to “shadow flicker” and the development’s proximity to the Tingwall shooting range.
Peel Energy were applying to build the 12 turbine development on a 605 hectare site between Lerwick and Scalloway.
But seven objections were received to the project.
Sustainable Shetland questioned the green credentials of the windfarm.
Elected members were concerned that part of the development had been planned within a kilometre of residential homes, with the impact concerning flicker at its worst at Frakkafield and Tagdale.
The Shetland Clay Target Club also objected, arguing that one turbine was on the boundary of their “safety zone”, and the access road was within an area not to be developed.
A report before members was presented by planning official John Holden.
It argued the windfarm would make a “significant contribution” to meeting greenhouse gas emission and renewable energy targets.
It also stated that the project would create job opportunities and contribute to the economy.
Recommending approval, it stated: “Impacts would, it is considered, be outweighed by the benefits of renewable energy generation.”
But planning chairman Theo Smith said he had been concerned by the plans.
Speaking after two hours of debate, the Shetland West member said: “Right from the start of this meeting today what’s really, really disturbed me is this flicker, or the potential of flicker, from these machines.
“I would say we would have to pay particular attention to the conditions that are put on house flicker.”
He argued for houses most deeply affected by flicker to be specifically identified in the conditions.
Fellow west mainland councillor Catherine Hughson argued that concerns by the clay pigeon shooting group also needed to be considered.
“We made huge inroads to get the asset they have,” she said.
Shetland South member George Smith said he had been made “quite uneasy” over the level of engagement from developers with residents who risk being most affected by the project.
“I’m really not sure that this is acceptable to the folk being most affected,” he said.
His North Mainland counterpart, Andrea Manson, went further – stating she could not look herself in the mirror if she backed the plans.
Arguing one house was within 800 metres of a turbine, she called for the application to be refused.
She was seconded by Councillor Smith, but the final vote went in favour of the application.
• Further coverage and reaction, see Friday’s Shetland Times.