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Stop this blight

Shetland has been recognised by many organisations including Scottish Natural Heritage, the John Muir Trust, National Geographic and the Lonely Planet as having some of the last unspoilt areas of natural beauty on the planet.

However, this natural heritage comes at a price because Shetland has one of the most fragile and vulnerable natural environments in northern Europe.

Today, Shetland’s scenic moorland and unique limestone valleys are under immediate threat from one of Europe’s largest civil engineering projects. This is a project to build a 127-turbine wind farm that will cut a vast industrial belt across Shetland consisting of miles of roads, huge quarries, massive concrete emplacements, cable tracks and a massive converter complex. Huge volumes of peat will be excavated and acres of carbon sink and moorland habitat destroyed.

Shetland is no stranger to environmental damage, as in the past our coastline has been ravaged by oil spills. These pale into insignificance when compared with the environmental threat posed by the massive civil engineering project planned by partners Viking Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy. The majority of the wind-farm area is recognised by the Scottish Government and British Geological Survey as being of significant peat-slide risk.

There are more than 2,300 objections with the Scottish Energy Consents Unit, including from Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB, the John Muir Trust, Shetland Amenity Trust, tourism businesses, etc. Despite this overwhelming level of objection, Shetland Islands councillors have now voted to threaten our natural environment like never before in our history. Because of their actions, the future of Shetland’s natural heritage now is in the hands of just one person, SNP energy minister Jim Mather.

On Saturday, 19 February there is a rally in Lerwick in support of Shetland’s environment. This rally is now the one and only chance for the Shetland public to get their voices heard in Edinburgh against the destruction of their natural heritage.

ALLEN FRASER

Meal, Burra
Shetland