THE COMPANY behind plans to build a 17-turbine wind farm on the island of Yell has said it was pleased to have crossed another hurdle after Shetland Islands Council's planning board backed the development.
The council is a statutory consultee in the planning process under section 36 of the electricity act. A final decision will be made by the Scottish Government's energy consent unit (ECU), in Glasgow.
The Beaw Field wind farm, developed by Manchester based Peel Energy, is the second large wind farm project in Shetland that is going through the complex planning process.
Both projects, Beaw Field and Viking Energy, hinge on a subsea interconnector cable that would be laid between Shetland and the UK's national grid.
The five planning board members present at Tuesday's meeting unanimously backed the council's consultation response to the ECU which has a total of 50 conditions attached.
Members were assured that no turbine could be erected until Scatsta Airport's concern over safety on the main flight path to the airport were approved by operator Serco and the CAA.
Peel Energy development manager Bernadette Barry told the meeting: "We are confident that there is a technical mitigation that can be put in place."
Board member Billy Fox said he wanted to highlight the airport's concern as Shetland's oil industry was of national significance.
Barry also told the meeting that no residential property would suffer from blade flicker as the company had developed software that would shut down individual turbines if needed.
The company would also recompense the council for the expected wear and tear on local roads during the construction process.
After the meeting, Barry said she was pleased with the outcome but acknowledged that there was "still a long way to go" before the construction of the wind farm could get under way.
Asked about the prospect of an interconnector being built, she said: "Conversations are ongoing and we are hopeful that we get a positive outcome."
However, the abolition of DECC, the UK Government's department of energy and climate change, and its integration into the new department of business, energy and industrial strategy has created delays in these discussions.