February 2, 2013

Windfarm battle grinds to halt

The Press and Journal | 2 February 2013 |

A legal challenge to a huge windfarm project in Shetland was adjourned yesterday as campaigners were allowed to amend their case in the action.

Campaigners launched a judicial review this week seeking to reverse a Scottish Government decision to give the go-ahead for the Viking Energy project.

Sustainable Shetland have also challenged the decision not to hold a public inquiry prior to granting consent for the 103-turbine project.

The group maintained that the ministers acted unlawfully or unreasonably in not holding an inquiry prior to giving approval.

They also claimed that they failed to take proper account of obligations under a European Birds Directive over the whimbrel – a migratory wading bird whose numbers have been in decline but with 95% on the British population breeding in Shetland.

They now also maintain that the Scottish ministers have no power to act in a way that it is incompatible with European Union law over their obligations to the bird and that “having purported to act contrary to those obligations” the consent should be set aside.

It is also claimed that they had an obligation to provide adequate reasons for their decision not to hold an inquiry so that the campaign group should have an effective right to challenge it.

The Scottish ministers maintain that they had proper regard to the environmental information on the whimbrel and have complied with their obligations under the Birds Directive.

Developers Viking Energy, which is also taking part in the judicial review hearing, maintain that because of the proposed scale of the project and the high wind resource on Shetland, the windfarm offers “considerable economic and renewable energy benefits” which were properly taken into account by the Scottish Government.

Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw QC, for Sustainable Shetland, asked Lady Clark of Calton at the Court of Session in Edinburgh to adjourn the action today and to allow the pleadings to be adjusted to incorporate new material.

The senior counsel said he understood four days of court time would be available at the end of April to continue with the case.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/02/02/windfarm-battle-grinds-to-halt/