Viking compound plan dropped to avoid sensitive habitat
Discovery of a rare habitat on the hill between Tresta and Weisdale has prompted Viking Energy to drop plans for a large temporary construction compound.
The planning application envisaged developing a site within an area of up to 200 square metres to use during the windfarm’s construction period.
But the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) voiced concerns about the effect on sensitive plant life discovered on the site at the Scord of Sound.
Viking Energy has now withdrawn the proposal. Instead, it says it will make do with a compound half the size nearby, which was granted permission in 2012 along with the rest of the windfarm.
The sensitive habitat was reported by Dr Andy Mackenzie, an independent ecological consultant tasked to study the sites of three proposed construction compounds.
He warned of potential impact on a type of so-called ground water-dependent terrestrial ecosystem found on limestone rock – said to be a relatively rare type of habitat in Shetland.
He also recorded the presence of the locally rare plant Stag’s-horn clubmoss.
Viking Energy says that, when the book Rare Plants of Shetland was written in 2002, this clubmoss was thought to be extinct in the islands.
Meanwhile, Tulloch Developments has been awarded a major contract by Viking Energy to build an access track to Upper Kergord.
Work on the 1.3 mile track is due to get underway in March and be completed in July.
Viking hopes the track will provide SSEN Transmission with access to the site of their proposed electricity converter station, which they require from July this year in order to have the transmission link to the mainland operational by 2024.