In an interview with BBC Radio Shetland on 17 September councillor Malcolm Bell said he’s “broadly in favour of it and always have been” in reference to the Viking Energy Wind Farm.
This statement seems to contradict his 2012 candidate manifesto where he states the following:
“It is really sad to see how opinions on both sides of the wind farm debate have become deeply entrenched. Perhaps this is down, in part, to how the matter was handled through the early stages.
“However, the reality is we are where we are and the new council must do everything to ensure Shetland gets the best possible deal. We must proceed with caution and make decisions in a calm, rational manner, taking into account (and being seen to take into account) all opinions.
“The charitable trust must, of course, make decisions on the basis of investment risk. If elected, I will have to be convinced on issues such as the distance of turbines from housing and the robustness of the habitat management plan.
“Most of all, the whole Shetland community must benefit and not just a few shareholders in the big multi-nationals. By taking this approach I hope we can bring some ‘healing’ to the community. I have been on doorsteps where the debate has even divided families.”
What helped him to be convinced? Was it the diminishing benefits to the ‘whole of Shetland’? Was it, and is it, the growing opposition to the wind farm? Was it the fact that there are still wind turbines within 2km of people’s homes?
And have they ever been ‘seen to take into account’ all opinions? How convinced is he with the habitat management plan now that there is new research into building wind farms on peat?
All genuine questions and maybe Mr Bell would like to address them.