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Anti-Viking group lodges petition asking for judicial review into windfarm

Sustainable Shetland has lodged a petition at the Court of Session in Edinburgh calling for a judicial review of the Scottish Government’s decision to grant consent for Viking Energy’s huge 103-turbine windfarm.

Energy minister Fergus Ewing gave his approval to the deeply divisive project in April, while late last month Shetland Charitable Trust – which has a 45 per cent stake – approved a further £6.3 million budget towards taking the windfarm to the final decision-making stage.

In a statement issued today by chairman Andrew Halcrow, Sustainable Shetland said it was seeking a “protective expenses order”. Its grounds for lodging the legal challenge include the potential impact on protected species and landscape and the fact that a public local inquiry was not held.

Such an inquiry would have been automatically triggered had the SIC objected to the project, but in December 2010 it voted 9-3 in support. Its planning department had recommended that the council should object on environmental grounds.

Today’s statement reads in full: “Sustainable Shetland, a voluntary organisation based in Shetland, has petitioned the Court of Session in Edinburgh to judicially review the decision by Scottish ministers to grant consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 for the Viking windfarm on Shetland.

“The organisation is seeking a protective expenses order, and is challenging the decision by ministers on grounds including the impact on protected species and landscape and the failure to hold a public local inquiry.”