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Viking refuse planning extension

Anti-Viking Energy campaign group Sustainable Shetland has hit out at the wind farm developer for refusing to allow an extension to the consultation period following the publication of its planning addendum at the end of last month.

But Viking Energy said they had already added an extra three weeks to the four week statutory period for responses to be submitted.

Sustainable Shetland had put their request through the government’s Energy Consents Unit for the consultation period to be extended to 17 December to allow for scrutiny of the addendum, which has taken a year to produce.

In autumn last year Viking Energy announced that they would carry out further work in response to the widespread criticism levelled at their original planning application for the then 540 megawatt wind farm.

Two weeks ago they published the addendum, now proposing a smaller 457 megawatt development. This triggered a four week consultation period which was extended by the developer until 19 November.

Sustainable Shetland vice chairman Kevin Learmonth said on Monday that the energy consents unit had informed them that Viking Energy had not agreed to an extension.

He said: “In refusing to grant an extension, Viking Energy have signalled their intention to attempt to push this application through with unseemly haste, and force their plans on the people of Shetland.

“Many parts of the addendum refer back to the original planning impact assessment, itself also several hundred pages long.

“To release the revised planning application just as many families begin a two week long October holiday, and with many people away from Shetland, is a cynical and underhand manoeuvre by Viking Energy.”

But Viking co-ordinator Allan Wishart said there was nothing underhand or cynical behind the company’s decision.

“This is a revision of the original document. It is not a full environmental statement. That is why we think, given the two weeks extension, that we have been quite generous. This should be sufficient time for anyone to look through it and submit their comments.”

Shetland Islands Council, as the main statutory consultee, has a further four weeks until 17 December to respond.