I was present at the “consultation” presentation given by Viking Energy’s consultants (which the Shetland public are paying for) at Bixter Hall this evening, and frankly I was appalled.
First, the subject of lethal (Hooded) Crow control. In spite of Viking Energy’s Addendum admitting that “ a better understanding of whimbrel ecology is necessary in order to develop and implement site-specific management prescriptions”, we were informed that Crow control measures will go ahead, even outwith the Habitat Management Plan (HMP) areas – ostensibly to discourage Whimbrels to breed within the windfarm area. Quite why similar measures within the windfarm area are also going to go ahead, presumably to encourage breeding, was not explained.
These measures will require the consent of Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), according to the Scottish Ministers’ consent. I was told that if SNH did not agree to them, based on new data provided by environmental consultants, then the windfarm would not go ahead. So in that case the HMP, and crow control measures, will not go ahead – in spite of us being informed on posters that they will.
Secondly, Viking Energy also intends to “restore” blanket bog by blocking large eroded gullies – which is probably a recipe for disaster, given the propensity for sudden flash floods; and by enlarging lochans to encourage Red Throated Diver breeding, which implies unspecified machinery interference with the habitat.
Thirdly, crofting law now includes “energy generation” as a reasonable purpose for development schemes on common grazings, without specifying the scale of it, whereas other reasonable purposes are such as building a kirk, a community hall, or a peat hill track, or other similar small scale developments.
According to this law, the “crofting community” only includes crofters who have common grazing rights on affected land – not other members of the community who live in the area and (among others) have rights of access to that land for recreational or other purposes.
This is a recipe for even more division in the Shetland community than has been demonstrated already – especially, as I understand, that a mere 350 crofters stand to share £4 million per year in compensation.
But as one crofter in the affected area said to me after the event: “They can take their money and stuff it up their backsides.”
Thank God for people like that.
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