Shetland Islands Council has voted against hosting a second series of public consultation meetings in order to let councillors know the public’s view on the proposed Viking Energy wind farm.
A decision on whether or not to grant planning permission for the 457 megawatt development lies with Scottish ministers, but as a statutory consultee the local authority’s views will have to be considered by ministers.
Last year, four public meetings were held after councillors had been advised of a potential conflict of interest since 21 of the 22 members are shareholders of the project in their role as trustees of Shetland Charitable Trust.
With the project now re-configured and reduced in size, calls had been made for another round of meetings to debate the local authority’s response to the wind farm proposal.
Opposing further meetings, Shetland South councillor Rick Nickerson said that at times of “economic constraint” the SIC should not spend further money on consulting the public.
He said the original planning application had not been substantially changed by the addendum. He was seconded by North Isles councillor Laura Baisley.
But Shetland West councillor Florence Grains said the redesigned project was important and should therefore be consulted upon. She was seconded by Allison Duncan.
However, she lost the vote by 10 to seven with one abstention, which came from councillor Jonathan Wills who was prevented by convener Sandy Cluness from speaking on a technicality.
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