The Shetland Labour Party has contributed to the ongoing Viking Energy windfarm consultation by suggesting a referendum to decide if local people want to receive direct financial payments from the proposed windfarm or have profits looked after for them via a trust should the scheme go ahead.
The party is also advocating transparency by the directors of Shetland Aerogenerators and Viking Energy regarding how much they stand to gain from their directorships and any other involvement in the industry.
Further issues the party believes to be of public interest include:
* The extent to which councillors are involved in the industry;
* Whether planning consent for any new sites should be considered until the future of the large central Shetland proposal is decided;
* Why councillors advocate using Shetland’s money whilst failing to achieve a controlling share.
Party vice-chairman Peter Hamilton said: “Shetland Labour Party is not taking a position either way on the proposed investment or the proposed development at this stage but feel certain issues still need clarification.
“Shetlanders are being asked to put their landscape and their money into this proposal. Our share should therefore be able to outvote the private interests of Scottish and Southern Electricity and Shetland Aerogenerators who together seemingly command 60 per cent of the project’s finances.
“While returns may be reduced by future governments, Shetland’s main source of information about this proposal comes from those with a direct stake in the venture, so it is reasonable to ask questions about the salesmen’s cut.
“Councillors also need to remember that this is not their money they are offering but money belonging to the people of Shetland, and so councillors may wish to consider how we might be independently advised during the consultation process.
“The issue of how financial returns are to be distributed needs to be addressed as there is a strength of feeling in the community that our existing oil funds are currently failing to get to those it was intended for; money which needs to be more energetically invested in Shetland’s people first and foremost.”
30 March 2007
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