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Developer trims windfarm plan  

Credit:  By Shona Gossip, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 9 October 2010 ~~

Revised plans for a controversial windfarm in Shetland have been submitted to the Scottish Government.

The Viking Energy Partnership originally proposed to build 150 turbines in the central mainland of the isles – making it Europe’s largest onshore windfarm – but has now altered plans in line with public concern.

During a public consultation earlier this year, it emerged that the vast majority of local residents were against the project, with several saying it was “absolutely disproportionate” to the size of the islands. The developer, Scottish and Southern Energy and Viking Energy Ltd, a company controlled by the Shetland Charitable Trust, has dropped more than 20 of the 476ft turbines from its plans and reduced the size of the area it hopes to build on.

Bill Manson, chairman of the Viking Energy Partnership, said: “We have listened to what people have said and we have put a massive amount of time and effort into making changes to address concerns.

“The removal of 23 turbines will reduce the impact on residents, birds and archaeology. It also means we can reduce the area occupied by the completed windfarm to 104 hectares (257 acres) – the equivalent to only 0.56% of the 18,700 hectares (46,208 acres) of the central mainland.”

The developer also carried out additional surveys on the impact the windfarm would have on local wildlife.

Last night, however, Billy Fox, chairman of campaign group Sustainable Shetland, said the changes would make little difference to opponents of the project.

He said: “It was a very large project to begin with and is still very big with 127 turbines at 476ft high. In that respect we are still very much opposed to the project – it is much too large.

“There is also the bird population in the area they are proposing to build the windfarm on to consider. That area is home to four or five species of birds which are very rare, like the red-throated divers, golden plover and merlin. For us, our position is that we are still in complete opposition of this site being built in this location.”

The amendments have now been added to the original submission, which was sent to ministers in May.

The plans for the development can be viewed at North Mainland Leisure, Centre Brae; West Mainland Leisure Centre, Aith; Shetland Library, Lower Hillhead, Lerwick; and online at www.vikingenergy.co.uk

Any comments about the proposals should be submitted by November 19 to the Scottish Government’s energy consents unit, 4th Floor, Atlantic Quay, 15o Broomielaw, Glasgow G2 8LU, or e-mailed to energyconsents@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Source:  By Shona Gossip, The Press and Journal, www.pressandjournal.co.uk 9 October 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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