THE appointment of Fergus Ewing as the new Scottish energy minister has been welcomed by wind farm developer Viking Energy as well as the project’s opponents from Sustainable Shetland.
On Friday, the MSP for Inverness East and Nairn and former community safety minster was given the energy, enterprise and tourism brief in first minister Alex Salmond’s new ministerial team,
One of the first tasks Mr Ewing will face in his new role is to make a decision on the planning application for the 457 megawatt Viking Energy wind farm.
One of the statutory consultees, Scottish Natural Heritage, objected to the development on environmental grounds, however Shetland Islands Council has recommended approval to Scottish Ministers.
Mr Ewing could either approve or refuse consent for the £680 million project. Alternatively, he could call a public local inquiry (PLI).
Viking Energy’s project co-ordinator, councillor Allan Wishart said that given the SNP’s emphasis on renewable energy he would expect to hear from the minister sooner rather than later.
“We would like to hear back from the government as soon as possible. If there is to be a public inquiry then let’s have it and get on with it. We are ready to give any further information to help the process,” he said.
Sustainable Shetland’s chairman Kevin Learmonth said: “We obviously hope the new minister will listen to the views of the majority of Shetland and refuse planning permission on environmental grounds.
“If, at this stage, he feels unable to do that then as a minimum everybody agrees there should be a public inquiry.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 440 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News