Around 30 residents from Whiteness and Weisdale have expressed their unease with the lack of detailed information on a proposal to land a power cable and build a massive converter station in their parish.
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Ltd (SHETL) plan to connect Shetland to the UK grid via a single circuit 550 megawatt (MW) cable so the local Viking Energy wind farm project can export power to the mainland.
But residents say a recent roadshow in the isles did not give sufficient information on the plans and left local residents “genuinely concerned”.
Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale Community Council organised a public meeting in Whiteness hall on Thursday night to gather local reaction for their response to the electricity utility.
SHETL proposes to build a very large converter station in the Kergord valley and bring ashore their undersea cable near the head of Weisdale Voe.
Speaking yesterday (Friday), community council chairwoman June Johnson said the majority of the people present at the meeting were from the area directly affected by the project.
“People felt disappointed with the lack of information given at the roadshow held in the community on 8 April.
“We also feel that it is very difficult to comment on the cable in isolation from the Viking Energy project since both are interlinked.
“There is a lot of confusion because of the lack of information and people have genuine concern both about the implication for the area of the cable and also the Viking Energy project,” she said.
She added that local folk were simply overwhelmed by the size of the proposed project that would bring more than 150 very large wind turbines (each will be up to 145 metres /476 feet high) to the central mainland of Shetland.
Although the Viking Energy project is half community-owned and is supposed to bring huge profits to the islands, Mrs Johnson said the general feeling was that local people would not directly benefit from the project.
“There was a feeling of opposition, not point blank against, but because of lack of information. People want proper consultation and far more information on both projects. That is the general feeling,” she said.
The community council will now draft a response to SHETL and submit it before the 9 May deadline for the cable consultation.
All three Westside councillors were invited to attend the meeting but only Frank Robertson was able to turn up.
Hans J Marter
19 April 2008
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