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Wind test mast found in pieces on remote hill

A test mast designed to measure wind velocity for a proposed windfarm has blown down.

The 40-metre mast on a hill north of Voe belongs to utilities giant Scottish and Southern Energy and is believed to have been installed on the top of Cunnigill Hill, between Swinning and Quhamm, at some point in the last two years.

An SSE employee said that it looked like the mast had fallen over because one of the four guy wires holding it in place had corroded and that the top section of the mast had broken off and broken into pieces.

The employee said that the structure was safe but said he had no knowledge of when the mast blew down.

SSE is now considering relocating the mast on a different hill as planning permissions for test masts are only granted for temporary periods.

A man who occasionally walks in the surrounding area said he saw that the mast was down at the beginning of last November.

The bystander, who claimed that he had not seen any signs of corrosion to the guy wires, said that a Tornado military plane had been seen carrying out low-level manoeuvres near the mast at around the same time.

He said: “Maybe the Tornado just clipped one of the cables on the mast.”

Scottish and Southern Energy is working with Shetland Islands Council on the Viking Energy project to build a giant windfarm in the isles.


11 May 2007