THE SCOTTISH Land Court has granted Viking Energy permission to build a 103-turbine wind farm on crofting land in the north mainland of Shetland.
The decision was made public on Tuesday afternoon following a four-day long hearing of the land court in Lerwick in early July.
Opponents to the development said the decision by the land court was "not entirely unexpected but disappointing nevertheless" while the developer welcomed the judgement and added it would comment more fully once a written judgement had been made available by the court.
The land court said it was satisfied by the case presented by Viking Energy and felt that "the evidence led by the respondents at the hearing does not, in the court's view, provide a basis upon which the application can properly be refused".
The court said that it would not issue a formal order at this stage as otherwise the appeal days would begin to run. It will be issued along with the court's full written statement, which is likely to be in several weeks time.
In its short statement, the land court also said that it recognises that the outcome would be deeply disappointing to the four respondents to the Viking application, and added that it "has to apply the law as it understands it."
"The court wishes, nevertheless, to record its respect for the sincerity and strength of the respondents' feelings in relation to the perceived impact of the proposed development and thank them for the civility with which they presented their arguments at the hearing," it said.
Sustainable Shetland vice chairman James Mackenzie, who represented two of the respondents, said the decision was not unexpected.
He said the respondents had not yet made up their mind whether or not to appeal the decision.
He added: "We appreciate that the court has expressed its respect for the dignity and sincerity in which the respondents put forward their case."
Viking project manager Aaron Priest said: "Viking Energy Wind Farm LLP has been advised by the Scottish Land Court that a decision has been made to grant its sec 19A application.
"We welcome the Court's decision. Viking Energy Wind Farm LLP will await the full written judgement of the court before commenting further."