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Letters / Questioning experts’ independence and competence

I read David Thomson’s comments (Shetland Times, 27 September) with little surprise; however, by this stage of Viking Energy’s long and unsuccessful evolution, I thought a little reality and honesty might have been forthcoming.

David Thomson declares the “independence” of the experts who studied the peat all those years back. I question their independence and competence, as Viking Energy commissioned and paid for them they were hardly independent.

They made substantive errors or false claims in their report which recent events highlight. For example, the fundamental conclusion in their report stated that the peat to be stable. The massive peat slide above Sound Loch/Upper Kergord in October 2015 would suggest their conclusions were false. Such a massive error could wreck the entire project and endanger lives! (VE Technical Appendix 14.1 Peat Stability Assessment).

SSE Renewables make further claims about minimising environmental impact. The present ground investigations have shown such claims to be utterly false and dishonest. The claim that the Shetland Energy Advisory Group will monitor the works is again nonsense. How could they monitor the recent “awful and destructive” ground investigations? The advisory group does not exist as yet.

SNH are advisory only, and sadly they failed to advise about breeding Schedule One endangered birds which were seriously compromised by the ground investigations. Red throated divers, whooper swans, merlin, whimbrel and curlew chicks were all put at risk by advice from SNH being incompetent and wrong! SNH are subject to a formal complaint forwarded to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.

From its very concept, Viking Energy has a made a litany of disingenuous statements. Very sadly it has proponents who appear to continue in that tradition. It is truly time this project was put to bed before more damage is inflicted on our environment.

I would add on a footnote, David Thomson mentions how 200 crofting families would financially benefit. What he fails to mention is that the lairds and landowners get an identical compounded sum.

As a crofter I was promised about £,1000 per annum (Aithsting/Clousta). There are 200 of us crofters; our lairds would receive £200,000 per annum. That is how the Viking Energy cookie cash cake crumbles.

Ian Tinkler