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Letters / People are worried, frightened, angry and upset

I refer to Mr. Bell’s letter from 25 September. “I see no contradiction”, said the blind man. Mr. Bell must be deaf as well as blind if he is still unaware of the huge groundswell of opposition to the SSE/VE windfarm. Since construction work started folk have become fully aware of the level of environmental destruction this is bringing.

This development is now having a considerable impact on the emotional and psychological health of many. I know of several families who can’t take the emotional strain of this any longer and are talking of moving away.

People are worried, frightened, angry and upset. They feel helpless. In such times folk look towards their political leaders for reassurance, perhaps some words of comfort.

Mr. Bell mentions the divisions in the community. As our civic leader surely one of his roles would be, if not to actually heal them, then at least attempt to narrow this deep rift? Instead he widens it by attacking what he calls the anti-windfarm lobby and apportioning blame to it.

Individuals who were sitting on the fence, even some who were in favour of the windfarm are starting to change their minds. They are mostly the young people whose future he intends to secure. Well guess what? Some of them actually want to be proud of their Shetland and don’t want to live on an industrialised island with a wrecked environment.

I read with great interest his statement: “[I shall] do my best to ensure that all the very strict conditions imposed on the already consented development were upheld. Again, I have done so.”

So what exactly are those “very strict” conditions and what exactly has he done to ensure they are adhered to?

Just weeks into the construction phase of the windfarm we have our first pollution incidents (plural intended), demonstrating that the mitigation measures in place are wholly inadequate for the Shetland climate and terrain.

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From where I’m standing Bell seems to have applied a lot more planning scrutiny to a small community garden in Lerwick than to the VE windfarm, i.e., I didn’t notice much scrutiny from him during a recent planning meeting, where an application for a VE compound, despite a lot of objections, was simply rubber-stamped.

I think our civic leader should give this some thought and decide whose interests he is serving – those of Shetland, its people and its natural environment, or those of a ruthless developer?

Rosa Steppanova

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