The area around the Burn of Lunklet has been rechristened Turbineland by a passer-by. Of course, signs shouldn’t be vandalised, but the new name is rather apt.
Approximately 12 of Viking Energy’s 103 turbines are planned within two kilometres of the waterfall, in addition to miles of access roads.
The Burn of Lunklet is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), just like the Sandwater loch. It is also an area of outstanding natural beauty, a hotspot for wildlife and unique vegetation, and a favourite spot for locals and tourists to the isles to visit.
The catchment area of the burn is within the wind farm.
If we are to see the way the new road next to the Sandwater loch is being constructed as exemplary for Viking Energy’s treatment of SSSIs, it does not bode well for the burn.
There has been at least one incident of residue from the construction site entering the loch, and the measures taken to prevent reoccurrence seem rather haphazard.
Also, regular blasting is taking place a stone’s throw away from the SSSI (no pun intended). Respect for nature and wildlife seems to be utterly lacking on the side of the developer.
Viking Energy’s preferred method of communication is spewing hollow rhetoric like ‘We are committed to being a responsible neighbour’ or ‘Stringent measures will be put in place to ensure that sediment created during construction does not flow into burns and lochs in and around the project site’, but can we actually trust them with the Burn of Lunklet?
Judging from how it’s been going so far, I’d say we can’t.
So here are a few simple questions to Viking Energy and the SIC:
- What exact measures will be taken to prevent pollution of the Burn of Lunklet and disruption of the ecosystem in and around it?
- Will the water in the burn be tested regularly by people not on the payroll of the developer?
- What measures will be taken to ensure that the Burn of Lunklet is not lost as a tourist attraction, considering that tourism already stands to suffer from the central mainland being turned into an industrial wind farm?
- How are members of the public expected to monitor compliance with planning permissions as encouraged by the SIC if they are banned from going ‘within 300m of any ongoing or completed construction works’?
Please don’t use the word ‘committed’ in the answers to these questions. The people of Shetland deserve actual answers.