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Energy / Campaign group lodges objections against Viking compounds

The location of the main compound alongside the A970.

SUSTAINABLE Shetland has lodged objections to plans for three compounds which would be used during the construction of the proposed Viking Energy wind farm.

The wind farm developer is keen to secure permission to create compounds at locations south of Voe, near to the Halfway House and at the Scord of Weisdale.

They would be 200m x 200m in size, apart from the one at Sandwater, which would be 250m x 250m.

Anti-Viking campaign group Sustainable Shetland, however, has issued objections to planning applications for the three compounds, referring to issues in areas like siting, access, landscape and ecology.

While planning permission for the construction of temporary compounds was included as part of the consent for the 103-turbine wind farm, Viking Energy submitted fresh applications because it wants to increase the size of the compounds.

The compounds are being proposed for five years, and they would feature equipment storage, office accommodation and maintenance and refuelling facilities.

Sustainable Shetland raised concern in its three objections over the likelihood of Viking Energy sticking to planning conditions should the work get the green light.

“No doubt many of the clear problems with this application will supposedly be addressed by ‘mitigation’ or ‘conditions’,” the group said.

“Recent experience of how this developer operates does not lead to confidence that conditions will be dealt with adequately.

“Recently starting ‘investigative’ work during the bird breeding season, including the use of helicopters, shows a blatant disregard for the natural environment.”

Viking Energy said it does not comment on live planning applications.

In its applications, however, the developer said: “In selecting the locations of the proposed compounds, the following has been considered: suitability of the location to efficiently facilitate and support construction works on wind farm site, while minimising potential environmental impacts.”

The compound near Weisdale received an objection from locals John and Evelyn Morrison, who raised concerns over the disruption to traffic and “environmental destruction”.

They added: “To inflict this on an elderly lady living close by is an infringement of her human rights”.

The construction of the SSE-controlled wind farm on the central mainland is slated to start in May next year – if Viking Energy wins government subsidy and a subsea interconnector cable is approved and laid to allow the export of energy.