Members of Sustainable Shetland are extremely concerned about reports (Viking Energy to carry out road alterations; SN, 10 January 2020) that works are due to commence on the existing road from Sandwater to the Upper Kergord junction.
We are not aware that any consultation has taken place on this or that any planning permission has been applied for or consented.
In particular the area near the Sandwater loch is an SSSI and any development there must surely require consultation with the appropriate environmental bodies.
It is clear that, once again, the SIC are being helpful to their former partners in the wind farm project. In this instance the SIC could surely insist that the proposed new road from Sandwater to the Upper Kergord junction should be constructed first rather than allowing construction traffic onto the old minor road.
It seems clear that the reason for the changes to the passing places on the existing road is to facilitate the movement of construction traffic. However, does this now mean that the plans for the new road have perhaps been shelved?
If that is the case then there will be serious implications for other road users in the area. However, consideration for local residents does not appear to be high on Viking Energy’s list of priorities.
It continues to be very surprising that Viking Energy are continuing with preparatory work before there is any certainty that Ofgem will approve the revised needs case for the interconnector when it is submitted.
There seems to be an assumption by Viking Energy/SSE that it will be given the go ahead but Ofgem could well reject it again.
Ofgem have made it very clear that they will be looking carefully at the financial implications for all consumers. The value for money aspect of the Viking Energy project remains, as it always has been, very doubtful as are the supposed environmental benefits.