A national charity concerned with the protection of wild land in Scotland and the UK has reiterated its objection the Viking Energy wind farm development.
The John Muir Trust said on Thursday the proposed development which consists of 127 huge turbines, 104 kilometres of tracks, associated buildings and quarries, is “unsuitable” for what they describe as “one of the wildest areas of the UK”.
Viking Energy, a partnership between Scottish and Southern Energy, the Shetland Charitable Trust and the four shareholders of the Burradale wind farm, published an addendum in September in which they downsized their original proposal for a 540 megawatt wind farm to one of 457MW.
The six week consultation period on the addendum document closes on Friday.
John Muir Trust chairman John Hutchison said the organisation still considered the project to be inappropriate.
“Just this month Shetland was described by travel guide Lonely Planet as ‘the last untamed corner of the UK’.
“Despite the development being reduced in scale, the fact remains that the turbines would dwarf any building in the heart of Glasgow, let alone the landscape of Shetland,” he said.
He added by saying that the trust supports sustainable economic development in wild land areas, but has concerns over carbon payback figures, and the developer’s proposals to re-use 700,000 cubic metres of extracted peat elsewhere on the development site.
The trust’s chief executive Stuart Brooks said: “Peat has an extremely fragile structure, and once peat has dried out significantly it is impossible to reverse this process.
“You cannot, as Viking Energy are proposing, shift peat from one location to another and expect it to behave in the same way.
“The impacts of wind developments on deep peat are extremely difficult to predict so there is a need to stick to a precautionary principle and avoid siting major developments of this scale on fragile and important peatlands.
“Restoring peatlands to help sequester carbon should be our priority; this is one of the most cost-effective means of reducing our carbon emissions.”
The RSPB and the Shetland Amenity Trust are expected to release their responses to the Viking Energy addendum on Friday.
Scottish Natural Heritage, a statutory consultee, have been given an extra week to respond.
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