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Letters / Compensate home-owners

Residents living within the two kilometre danger zone around 70 of the 103 massive Viking Energy wind farm turbines may be interested to know that the Scottish Conservative Party (no, I’m not a member or voter; at least not yet) have launched a comprehensive rural action plan.

As part of this plan they call for a valuation system to be set up allowing home-owners to recover the lost market value on homes affected by new wind farms. This is in response to complaints from all across the country on the proliferation of large wind farms and the negative affect these have on property values. Scotland now hosts more than half of the UK’s wind farms although it has less that 10 per cent of the population.

The Scottish Government is being asked to look at a similar compensation model in Denmark, where a valuation authority can decide if a person’s home has been impacted, and how much the wind farm developers should pay in compensation.  

A compensation scheme along the Denmark lines was suggested to Shetland Charitable Trust (part-owners of Viking Energy) back in September 2012. The notion of compensation to home-owners was rejected outright by Viking Energy, even though some of the SCT trustees were in favour. The SCT was reminded at this meeting by trustee Frank Robertson that the SIC’s own planning service had recommended objecting to the Viking wind farm on the grounds of its impact on established settlements. It would be interesting to know if SCT is still in favour of compensating home-owners for the devastating effects of Viking Energy’s operations.

Included in the Conservatives’ rural action plan is a proposal to grant powers to councils to block wind farm developments, unlike the situation at present where Shetland Islands Council only has the power to recommend a public local inquiry. If the SIC had the proposed new powers at the time of the Viking application perhaps councillors would have paid more attention to their own planning department who recommended rejection of the Viking wind farm.

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Ever since SIC councillors washed their hands of the Viking project in a despicable charade in December 2010 almost all councillors have made no comment whatsoever on any aspect of the project. This, despite the fact that the 50 square miles of the Viking industrial site will change the Shetland landscape forever. This, despite the fact the lives and property of their constituents will be negatively affected or put at risk. It would be interesting to know if our councillors now back proposals to compensate home-owners for loss of property values and to devolve powers to local councils to block further wind farm applications.

MSPs Tavish Scott and Jean Urquhart, along with Alistair Carmichael MP, have recently stated their welcome for progress on the Viking windfarm; so by default welcome a subsequent proliferation of wind turbines across the rest of Shetland. It would be interesting to know if they would back a plan to compensate home-owners for loss of property values and to devolve powers to local councils to block further windfarm applications.

Allen Fraser, 

Meal, Hamnavoe

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