Shetland is not connected to the national grid so, if power is to be exported, a certain minimum threshold of windfarm development is needed to make economic the necessary transmission line.
Shetland Islands Council wishes to capitalise on the area's particularly windy environment to replace its diminishing oil revenues.
Although this large site is undesignated for its nature conservation interest, we have been in consultation with the applicant for several years to try to ensure that any adverse impacts on important bird species are understood and minimised in any proposals. This has involved several iterations of turbine and track layout to minimise adverse impacts on key bird species. We were not satisfied that the residual impacts on several birds, arising from collision with turbines or displacement from the development, were acceptable.
We also had concerns about damage to blanket bog habitat, the proposed means of dealing with excavated peat and the carbon budget of the development and hence we objected to the original application. We continued to work with Viking Energy to seek a reduction in adverse environmental impacts and suitable, compensatory habitat management should the development be consented. The impacts predicted to arise from the revised application were still considered unacceptable and we formally objected.