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News / Jim gets his peerie turbine

A RETIRED Shetland harbourmaster is praying delays over planning permission for a small wind turbine in his front garden will not jeopardise a funding package to help pay for the project.

Jim Dickson applied to Shetland Islands Council to erect a 2.5 kilowatt turbine on a 6.5 metre mast at his house on Hillswick Road, Brae, last January.

Six months later SIC planning officials threw out his application saying it would have “an unacceptable adverse effect on the visual amenity of the area as enjoyed by neighbouring occupiers and passers by”.

They suggested it would be more appropriate to have a wall mounted wind turbine, which Captain Dickson said would not stand up to the Shetland weather.

He demanded a review of the decision, but it took until this week for his case to come before the SIC’s planning board

They overturned the decision, granting him permission to go ahead and also called for a meeting to review the council’s policy on micro wind generation in Shetland.

Councillor Gary Robinson said: “It seemed to me that the issue was not should there be a wind turbine or not, it was whether it should be mounted on a mast.

“At present we are trying to encourage folk to reduce their carbon footprint so it seemed like sense that we should grant the application.”

Captain Dickson welcomed the move, but said he now had to seek an extension to an offer from the Energy Savings Trust for a £4,000 grant and a £10,000 interest free loan to help pay for the turbine.

The turbine will be used to power an air source heat pump he installed to replace the oil fired boiler in his house, cutting his electricity bills by up to 75 per cent.

The former director of the SIC’s ports and harbours department said: “It’s a pity it’s taken 10 months to do this and I now have a slight problem in that the Energy Savings Trust grant and loan expires next month.

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“I’m asking them to extend it into the new year because clearly I won’t be able to get it installed until then.”

Shetland Islands Council is currently considering whether to hold another round of public meetings to debate plans to build one of Europe’s onshore largest wind farms in Shetland, which will include several 145m high wind turbines visible from Captain Dickson’s house.

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