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Viking masts get go ahead

WIND FARM developer Viking Energy yesterday (Wednesday) received permission to erect three 70 metre high wind testing masts at remote locations across the isles.

The masts at Mid Kames, Scalla Field, and at Runn Hill are needed to gather further data to determine the siting of wind turbines, the developer said.

The application attracted seven objections and 19 letters of support.

Billy Fox of Sustainable Shetland, the group opposing the 540 megawatt Viking Energy development, told the meeting that permission should be refused because the applicant had not complied with planning conditions for previous wind masts.

He also questioned whether planning board members had the authority to make a decision on the application by a company they, as trustees of the Shetland Charitable Trust, had a 45 per cent share in.

He was rebutted by Laura Baisley, who told the planning board meeting that she could distinguish between her role as a councillor and as a trustee and come to “clean decisions”. Mr Fox’s assertion did not apply to her, she said.

Referring to previous breaches of planning condition by Viking Energy, she said the planning authority was able to learn from its mistakes and seconded the motion to approve the application.

Vice convener Josie Simpson told the meeting that it was important to move the Viking Energy project forward.