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Energy / Wind farm developer reviewing objections

SIC planning service offers meeting to see if concerns can be overcome

Norwegian company Statkraft plans to develop a 23 turbine wind farm in Yell. Photo: Energy Isles

THE TEAM behind plans for a wind farm in Yell say they are reviewing recent objections to the proposals over the location of the development.

Meanwhile, Shetland Islands Council planners are keen to hold a meeting with some key objectors to see if a resolution can be found.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) was the latest organisation to object to Energy Isles’ plans for 23 turbines in north west Yell.

It said it objected to final plans for the wind farm because constructing turbines on blanket bog – a valuable carbon sink – would cause avoidable carbon emissions.

In light of national targets to reduce emissions through to 2045, and the demands on public bodies to do their bit, SEPA said: “We must now object in principle to the siting of the wind farm in this location and its associated negative impact on climate change”.

Other organisations like Scottish Natural Heritage – which is now called NatureScot – and Shetland Amenity Trust have also objected on similar grounds.

Project manager for Energy Isles Shetland Charlotte Healey said the company is “reviewing submissions from consultees and the public” on the plans.

Documents lodged with the local planning service shows that there has been a request for Shetland Islands Council not to take the application to its planning committee until March to give the developer Statkraft more time to consider consultation responses.

Planning team leader John Holden said that the council would not take the application to the committee and its councillors until at least January.

In a response to consultants ITPEnergised, he added: “However, given the content of the latest responses to the consultation by NatureScot and SEPA, we would appreciate it if a meeting is held involving the agent, ourselves, NatureScot, SEPA and yourselves so that the fundamentals of the grounds of objection can be discussed and it can be established if scope exists for the proposals to be revised that would enable the objections to be removed.”

The SIC is a statutory consultees in the process; the final say on the plans will rest with the Scottish Government’s energy consents unit because of the size of the project.

Messages of support and objection continue to be received by the unit from members of the public.

Some of the key reasons shown in support for the plans are wind power being further advanced in Shetland, and the economic boost another wind farm could bring, especially to the North Isles.

Healey, meanwhile, maintained Energy Isles’ position that the wind farm would help towards national emissions targets.

“According to the Scottish Government carbon calculator, the wind farm will pay back all the carbon released during construction, including through the disturbance to peat, within two years and therefore provide net gains for 28 years,” she said.

“That means 28 years of the wind farm helping to reduce carbon emissions, tackle climate change and contributing to Scotland’s carbon net zero by 2045 target.”