A special meeting of Shetland Islands Council is to be held in Lerwick today to debate controversial proposals to site Europe’s biggest community wind farm in the heart of the Shetland mainland.
Viking Energy, a consortium formed by Shetland Islands Council and Scottish and Southern Energy, is planning to build a 127-turbine wind farm which it is claimed will produce enough power to supply almost 20 per cent of Scotland’s domestic energy needs.
The turbines will be spread across 252 hectares of moorland. Viking Energy says the project will generate £37 million a year in revenues and create hundreds of jobs.
However, opponents of the scheme claim it will wreck a pristine, fragile landscape.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has confirmed that it is maintaining its objection on the grounds that the wind farm is likely to have adverse impacts on nationally important breeding birds, landscape and visual amenity.
A spokeswoman for the islands council said that the applicant, and supporters and objectors to the scheme had been invited to attend the special meeting of the full council.
Gordon Greenhill, the council’s director of infrastructure, said: “The council does not decide whether the application gets permission to proceed – that responsibility lies with the Energy Consents Unit.
“But we were keen that people should have the opportunity to make their points in person if they so wished.
“This is not a hearing, it’s a consultation exercise under the Electricity Act and we’re allowing people to make contributions.”
He added: “I am confident that this meeting will be fair and representative and that the public of Shetland will be able to make their views known, and I look forward to them helping this process to be as efficient as possible on the day.”
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