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Community / Yell Community Council unable to comment on wind farm plans due to lack of eligible members

Norwegian company Statkraft now plans to develop a 18 turbine wind farm in Yell. Photo: Energy Isles

THE CHAIRPERSON of Yell Community Council says the organisation is unable to comment on revised plans for a 23-turbine wind farm on the island as it did not have enough members able to discuss the application at its last meeting.

Laurence Odie added, however, that the community council “recognises the environmental benefits of renewable energy including wind turbines the financial benefit this development will bring to our area”.

The team behind Energy Isles recently submitted final plans for a wind farm south of Gloup, with proposals for 29 turbines being reduced to 23.

The plans have gone out for consultation again, with Yell Community Council among the bodies able to have a say.

However, chairman Odie said a lack of members who were able to discuss the topic meant the community council was unable to pass any comment at its last meeting.

This was partly due to over half of its current membership having a financial interest in the wind farm.

“The Yell Community Council currently only have seven members out of a possible nine – two of these members are shareholders and two expect to gain financially as land occupiers,” he wrote in a submission to the Scottish Government’s energy consents unit.

“This leaves just three members eligible to discuss and vote on the issue.

“When the first plans were discussed last year with only three members allowed to discuss the proposal, an objection to the proposal was raised and carried by majority.

“The plans have been amended, the area has been changed, the number of turbines reduced, and the height of some turbines lowered.

“At the Yell Community Council meeting to discuss the final application only two persons not involved in the project were present and as we need three to be quorate, we could not discuss the project.

“Therefore, our official position is that we could not make any comment.”

Yell Community Council previously backed the concept of the wind farm idea several years ago, but last year it expressed concern about the potential visual, noise and environmental impacts.