Opposition to the massive Viking Energy windfarm on Shetland is not dying down despite last week’s planning permission, and more than 170 islanders attended a meeting at Tingwall Hall to explore how campaign group Sustainable Shetland can fight on.
The upbeat meeting on Tuesday agreed the campaign against the 103-turbine development in the centre of Shetland was far from over.
It also showed the gulf between supporters and opponents of the 370MW windfarm project remains as deep as ever, with last week’s planning decision further fuelling strong emotions.
Islander after islander stood up to speak about their concern and frustration that their voice had not been listened to by councillors, trustees and government ministers.
Vice-chairman Allan Fraser said that of the 103 turbines approved by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing 61 would be within two kilometres of dwellings, and he condemned the broken promise of a health impact study. The meeting agreed to:
• Explore whether there is a case for a judicial review that would look into the lawfulness of the five-year process that led to last week’s planning consent.
• Investigate any other legal avenue open to the group, ranging from crofting law to the European Court of Human Rights.
• Lobby councillors/trustees who have been asked to attend Monday’s rescheduled meeting of the Shetland Charitable Trust, a 45% shareholder in the project, to release £6.3million of additional funding.
• Keep the pressure up by raising the public profile of the 800-plus member group and making more noise by “shouting from the rooftops”.
Weisdale crofter Agnes Leask said that, as a charity, Sustainable Shetland should apply to the charitable trust for help to cover the group’s legal costs.
The meeting heard that Shetland Islands Council could have triggered a public inquiry into the whole project, but had chosen to go against its own planning department’s recommendations in December 2010 when just nine elected members voted in favour of the windfarm development.
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