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Viking Energy heads back to court

SHETLAND wind farm developer Viking Energy has applied to the Scottish Land Court to approve its scheme to compensate around 300 crofters affected by its plans to build 103 turbines on a large part of Shetland’s central mainland.

Four years after planning consent was granted for the £700 million development, the project partners are heading back to the courts to proceed with their plans.

Only last year the wind farm was given the green light by the Court of Session after the government’s consent was challenged by anti-Viking campaign group Sustainable Shetland.

Viking has already signed a leasing agreement with the 12 landowners on whose property the wind farm would be built.

Now they seek permission from the Land Court to split any compensation payments equally between those landowners and the crofters working that land.

Crofting lawyer Brian Inkster said such an arrangement would be the normal way to proceed.

“It would be normal for whatever payments that are being made to the landlord…for those payments to be split on a 50:50 basis with the crofters,” he told BBC Radio Shetland.

The application under the Crofting (Scotland) Act 1993 was advertised in Friday’s Shetland Times by Viking’s Edinburgh lawyers Gillespie Macandrew.

Following a second public notice, any interested party will have 28 days to submit an objection.

This will probably be restricted to crofters whose land will be affected by the wind farm.

The areas affected by the wind farm construction include Sandwick, Sweening & Laxo common grazings; Aithsting District common grazings; Heglabister & Sound common grazings; South Olnafirth common grazings and West Nesting common grazings.

The associated management plan to protect bird species and restore blanket bog will also affect Culsick and Hestinsetter common grazings; North Olnafirth common grazings; Walls, Sandness and Dale common grazings; and Weathersta, Burravoe and Brae common grazings.

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