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Community council concerns over Yell wind farm plans

| Written by Shetland News

MEMBERS of Yell Community Council have expressed concern over the size of a proposed new wind farm in the north of the island.

A special meeting was held on Tuesday night to discuss local consortium Energy Isles' plans for a development west of Cullivoe which would feature up to 63 large turbines.

Chairman Laurence Odie said while the community council supports wind farm proposals in principle, there were also concerns raised over the potential impact of the proposed 200MW wind farm in terms of visibility and noise.

He said the "main issue" related to the size of the wind farm – but Odie said the community council has yet to decide whether it is formally for or against the plans.

"There is a lot of support for the financial benefit that will come to the community," Odie said. "We don't currently have a view of either in favour or against.

"We'll be giving them feedback and the main feedback will be on the size of the windfarm and the visibility impact, as well as concerns of noise levels in certain areas."

In response, Energy Isles chairman Paul Riddell stressed that the proposals are at a very early stage and a full planning application has yet to be submitted.

The development as it stands would have to be given consent from the Scottish Government due to its size.

"Under the planning process, we are required to produce a scoping report, which sets out in broad terms what our intentions are," Riddell said.

"Members of the community and other interested parties have been invited to give their responses to that report."

Riddell added that the consortium has been "delighted" with the level of support offered from the Yell community.

"We will of course engage further and fully consider these responses - along with a wide range of bird, environmental and other studies that we are in the process of carrying out – before submitting a full planning application late this year or early in 2019," he said.

Scatsta Airport has already said that it would object to the plans as they stand – but it said it was open to mitigation.

Peel Energy already has government consent for a 17-turbine wind farm elsewhere in Yell, while the North Yell Development Council launched five turbines wind farm last year in a bid to benefit the local community.

Both the Peel and Energy Isles developments would depend on gaining access to a large interconnector cable to export energy to the mainland.

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