The SIC’s planning committee has offered no objections to an 18-turbine windfarm in Yell – despite concerns about peatland restoration and putting more strain on council planners.
Members decided not to object to the proposal, subject to Energy Isles meeting conditions at the site, which has been lodged with Scottish ministers.
But councillor Davie Sandison said he had “significant concerns” about the development, which will see 180-metre turbines built in North Yell.
He said it felt like the SIC was taking “a leap of faith” after the committee heard peatland restoration would be carried out off-site, but no location was given.
Mr Sandison felt the committee should have been told where the restoration would take place before they could reach a decision.
“It’s something I did ponder on for a while,” planning officer Janet Barclay Smith said.
She responded the applicant was “confident” that they had sites lined up, but just had not signed off on them yet.
“If that can’t be sorted out, the applicant can’t proceed because that would be a breach of the conditions,” she said.
Mr Sandison was also concerned that the amount of conditions on the development would take up a significant amount of the council’s time.
Planning manager Iain McDiarmid admitted that was “my chief concern as well”.
He said they were already “spending a significant amount of time with Viking Energy at the moment,” and that this project could further test council planners.
“It does cause us problems,” he added.
Convener Malcolm Bell proposed the SIC offered no objections to the application, which Robbie McGregor seconded.
Mr Sandison decided not to object, but said there remained “significant concerns” about the development.
“There remains in my mind concerns about the off-site peat restoration proposal,” he said.
“I’m concerned we’re making a decision on the blind.
“It seems like a bit of a leap of faith.”