GROUND investigation work, including the drilling of around 90 bore holes, will commence across the Viking Energy wind farm site in the central north mainland of Shetland later this month.
Around 50 contractors from the Glasgow based specialist BAM Ritchies will carry out the work over a three-month period.
It is the first visible sign on the ground that the construction of the controversial 103-turbine wind farm could indeed start later this year.
A decision on whether the project, now largely owned by utility Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE), has been successful in winning government subsidy under the Contracts for Difference auction is expected in September at the earliest.
In a leaflet delivered to households in the area Viking said the results of the ground investigation programme would “provide valuable information to help with the detailed final design of access tracks and turbine bases”.
BAM Ritchies as well as local contractor Frank L Johnston (Ltd) have also been commissioned to dig a number of trial pits.
The company continued: “A team of environmental and archaeological inspectors will be on site during the works to monitor activities and help minimise and environmental impact.
“To minimise ground disturbance, a helicopter will be used each day to transport equipment and personnel to and from working positions in the wind farm site, avoiding the need for frequent traversing of hillsides by tracked vehicles.”
Staff from BAM Ritchies will be based at a temporary compound at Rova Head.