November 6, 2007

Peat probing work to begin in relation to windfarm project

Contractors working on behalf of Viking Energy are due begin a second programme of intensive peat probing work in relation to plans for a giant windfarm in Shetland.

Mouchel, who specialise in environmental monitoring, will be deploying staff across the site later this month.

Earlier this year Viking Energy engaged the services of Dr Olivia Bragg, an international authority on peatland conservation and management from the University of Dundee.

Dr. Bragg has been actively involved in devising the draft road layout across the proposed site. Another part of her work has involved developing measures and best practice in habitat restoration and enhancement in peatland areas.

Viking Energy says Dr. Bragg’s work will ensure that best practice on peatland issues underpins the project’s design and construction process.

Aaron Priest from Viking Energy said: “These activities re-emphasise how seriously we take peatland issues in developing this project. The Shetland public can be assured that as well as following existing best practice, we intend to develop new levels in many respects.

“Our aim is to strive to leave these areas in better condition than we find them. Dr. Bragg’s work is central to this strategy. Ultimately success will depend on landowners, crofters, SNH, RSPB and ourselves as developers working closely together to achieve this positive legacy”.

Viking Energy undertook a period of public consultation in the spring of this year.

Since then the project team have been involved in developing layouts to reflect the public consultation.

The design of the windfarm has been evolving with Viking Energy saying it is taking into account the key environmental and technical issues, with the objective of minimising the environmental impact whilst maintaining economic benefits.

Aaron Priest said: “Our involvement in Viking Energy is for the long term. It is about developing a long-term environmental and financial legacy for the people of Shetland. To do that right, the quality of the development process is paramount.”

Viking Energy expects to publish its amended layout in the early part of next year together with the results of its public consultation process. This will pave the way to a planning submission in early summer.

Mr. Priest said “We’ve resisted the temptation to quickly publish the consultation results. To present that in a meaningful way, we feel it’s important to show how people’s comments are reflected in what is finally proposed. Quality often takes time and I’d ask people to bear with us in the meantime”.

Viking Energy is a partnership between Viking Energy Ltd and SSE Viking Ltd. SSE Viking Ltd is a subsidiary of Scottish and Southern Energy plc.

Viking Energy Ltd is the company established to represent the interests of the Shetland community in large-scale windfarm development in Shetland.

In September 2007, it was agreed that Shetland Islands Council’s ownership of Viking Energy Ltd should be sold to Shetland Charitable Trust.

Proposals for the Viking Windfarm are based upon a c.600MW windfarm in Shetland involving up to 192 giant turbines.

These proposals are currently dependent on the introduction of a sub-sea cable between Shetland and the Scottish Mainland.

The Shetland Times

6 November 2007

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