August 7, 2014
Letters, Scotland

My wakening moment

My wakening moment (Rosa Steppanova) | The Shetland Times | 06/08/2014 |

I am writing this before Sustainable Shetland meet on 6th August to decide whether to appeal the Inner Court decision or not. I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I hope that the group will decide to continue the fight.

While trying to decide which of the many issues – European bird directive, local democracy, financial implications, to focus on, I have decided on the personal experience angle.

I started out as a wind energy fundamentalist, believing that all green energy was good and beneficial to us all. I also, initially, believed that the Viking Energy windfarm would help save the planet.

All this changed, and my eyes were opened when, not long after Viking Energy published its first “Windy Lights” leaflet, Lea Gardens received a visit from a German couple. They were keen gardeners, in their early 70s and lived in Schleswig Holstein – an area sort of comparable to the Lake District.

They mentioned Burradale, saying something like: “We see you also have wind turbines here.”

I said, proudly: “Yes, and we’re going to have the biggest windfarm in Europe soon, isn’t that great?”

They looked at each other. They were retired professionals and had put their entire savings into building their dream house. When plans for a local windfarm were muted, being in favour of renewable energy and “green” in general, they supported it whole-heartedly.

They proceeded to tell me that the shadow flicker was unbearable at certain times of year, but they could tolerate it by initially drawing the curtains, and later on by installing dark blinds, but that they had suffered sleep disturbance, palpitations and blinding headaches, and that they simply could not continue to live in their “dream home”. They, reluctantly, put their house on the market but – seven years on – had found no buyer, for obvious reasons.

This was my wakening moment. Yes. We need renewable energy. But it must not come at a price to humans and the environment.

I hope that Sustainable Shetland will decide to continue to fight for the sake of all those potentially suffering health risks and property devaluation because of Viking Energy windfarm.

Rosa Steppanova
Lea Gardens,

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