Plea to restrict lorry movements to offer residents ‘respite’ is rejected 

Calls to restrict weekend HGV movements at a major construction site to offer residents “respite” have been rejected.

Shetland Central member Davie Sandison asked today’s (Monday) planning committee to impose the conditions as part of revised working hours at the Kergord converter station.

Mr Sandison said concerns about the construction site had been raised repeatedly at community council meetings and he felt the HGV condition would recognise the “need for respite” at the weekends.

The condition, which would have prevented HGVs from accessing the site before 9am on a Saturday and before 10am on a Sunday, had first been recommended by the council’s environmental health officers.

It was made in response to SSEN Transmission’s application to vary the working hours.  Currently, work is permitted from 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday; 8am-6pm on Saturday, and 9am-6pm on Sundays.  Under the proposals, these hours would change to 7am-7pm, Monday-Saturday, and 9am-6pm on Sundays. 

The converter station is being built to connect Shetland with the mainland national grid and to export power generated by the Viking Energy windfarm.

SSE said the earlier hours would make it easier for workers to return to their Sella Ness accommodation for evening meals and to speak to their families.

Murray Agnew, a planning officer for SSE, told the committee that the added condition on HGV movements could have “unintended consequences in practical terms”.

Mr Agnew highlighted the fact the Viking Energy project had no such restrictions. He said it could therefore prove confusing for two neighbouring projects to operate with different vehicle restrictions.

He also said restrictions could delay the project’s completion.

Lerwick South member Cecil Smith proposed to agree the variation without conditions.

While he recognised the need for “peace and quiet on a Sunday morning” Mr Smith said the different restrictions would cause confusion and “more concern for everybody”.

The SIC’s convener Malcolm Bell agreed.

“Frankly, it’s in nobody’s interest that the construction of this project goes on longer than is absolutely necessary, so I think this is a perfectly reasonable request,” he added.

Shetland North member Andrea Manson, seconding Mr Sandison’s amendment, said she thought an 84 hour working week was already “more than enough”.

Mr Smith’s motion won four votes to two.


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