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Energy / Viking Energy aware of reports of ‘discoloured water’ entering loch

Roadside ditches at the side of the public road and near Sand Water are being investigated as possible source

Discoloured water in the loch was reported to SEPA on 24 October. Photo: Sustainable Shetland.

THE DEVELOPER of Viking Energy says it is aware of reports of a “short-lived incident of discoloured water” entering Sand Water over the weekend following heavy rainfall.

A spokesperson for SSE Renewables said it is “confident that all the various silt mitigation measures which have been implemented around its construction works in the area, which are being continually monitored, are robust and are standing up well”.

It comes after silt mitigation measures in the area temporarily failed in September, leading to run-offs entering the loch – a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

A spokesperson for SSE Renewables said on Monday that roadside ditches at the side of the public road are being investigated as a possible source of a “low volume of discoloured water apparently entering the loch for a short period on Saturday”.

“The environmental management team will continue to monitor how the mitigation measures are performing and additional silt mitigation measures will be deployed if deemed necessary,” they added.

A spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council said that its team is following the matter up with the developer and the project monitoring officer.

“We understand the issue has been reported to SEPA, though the council, as planning authority, has not so far received any complaints,” they added.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said: “On Saturday 24 October 2020, SEPA received reports of possible sediment entering Sandwater Loch.

“The reported pollution concerns are being investigated.

“Members of the public can report potential pollution incidents to SEPA at www.sepa.org.uk/report.”

Following September’s incident Viking Energy said it held “urgent meetings with our contractor RJ McLeod to deploy immediate remedial action”.

Repeated breaches of conditions could land the developer in hot water.

The silt traps, which aim to stop run-offs from construction work finding their way into the loch, have been a regular focus of people documenting and scrutinising the creation of the wind farm.

The work ongoing includes the construction of a new road at Sand Water and a nearby compound.