PLANNING permission has been granted for Viking Energy to build a new road near to the Halfway House which would initially be used for construction traffic before being opened to the public.
It would see a new, 1.4 mile two-lane road being built from the Sandwater junction at the A970 heading west to the burn of Weisdale.
Construction vehicles would exclusively use the new road, which would run largely parallel to the existing 2.26km stretch of the B9075, until construction of the planned 103-turbine wind farm has been completed.
After that the new road, which would be paid for by Viking Energy, would be upgraded and opened up to the public.
Shetland Islands Council’s planning service has now granted approval for the plans – although it comes with over 20 conditions designed to ensure there are “no unacceptable adverse impacts”.
Planners said that the “proposed development will not give rise to any significant or unacceptable environmental effects, subject to appropriate mitigation measures being implemented to ameliorate effects”.
“The proposal incorporates the necessary environmental design and mitigation measures to minimise adverse environmental impacts,” the decision notice added.
“These include measures to address impacts generally and also specifically upon the landscape and visual effects, biodiversity (wildlife and ecology), hydrology and hydrogeology and geology, cultural heritage (archaeology), noise and air quality, and traffic and transportation.”
Also among the plans is a small bridge at the the burn of Pettawater which is found downhill from the Halfway House.
Viking Energy said liaison with landowners and local residents would be carried out prior to and during construction to ensure there is “minimum disruption”.
It is anticipated that once started construction on the new road would take between nine and 12 months. This estimate was given prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, however, and it is unclear how the construction industry may be affected once restrictions are lifted.
Viking Energy said the permission granted by Shetland Islands Council includes a condition that construction will start within one year.
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