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Charitable trust inquorate again

Protesters outside town hall

SHETLAND Charitable Trust has again been unable to make an investment decision into the controversial Viking Energy wind farm.

Around 40 anti-Viking campaigners had turned out at a meeting of the trust in the town hall on Monday morning to lobby against the request for an additional £6.3 million for the wind farm.

Seventeen trustees, all councillors, turned out for the meeting, but with six trustees (Viking directors Bill Manson, Alastair Cooper and Caroline Miller, as well as Allison (Flea) Duncan, Frank Robertson and Florence Grains) declaring a non-pecuniary interest and leaving the room, the meeting became inquorate.

Shetland Charitable Trust needs twelve members present to be able to take decisions.

As vice-chairman Jim Henry was about to kick off proceedings, it was up to anti-Viking campaigner Rosa Steppanova to remind trustees that they were inquorate.

At that stage Gussie Angus stood up and left the room. He was followed by fellow trustees Rick Nickerson and Jim Budge, as they slowly broke up.

A decision on whether to invest further funds into the 370 megawatt windfarm will now be made by the newly elected councillors once they take up their seat on the charitable trust after the May election.

Veteran councillor Florence Grains said she was appalled that Monday’s meeting had been called as the trust was in the middle of a transformation process.

She said: “We are in the midst of a consultation over the change of the charitable trust, and should not be making a decision for somebody else to carry out. It should be left to the people that can honour a decision they have made.”

Monday’s development was welcomed by Sustainable Shetland campaigners. Rosemary Macklin said this had been the quickest meeting she had ever been to.

“It is quite outraging that they should be voting on £6.3 million to hand over to a project that has not got the backing of the community, when at the same time they are talking about closing all these small primary schools, and all this commotion that has been going on over the last few months.”

Sustainable Shetland vice-chairman Allen Fraser said the meeting had been handled in its “usual shambolic” way.

“It looks as though the public reaction against the wind farm and against Fergus Ewing’s announcement has been very strong, and that certainly has influenced the meeting today,” he said.