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Letters / Five stars for peace and quiet?

In a recent survey carried out by the consumer watchdog ‘Which’ Shetland came second behind Orkney as being voted ‘Scotland’s Best Island’.

In this survey Shetland got a “five star rating for peace and quiet” and “received four stars for scenery”.

Clearly those who voted visited Shetland before Covid-lockdown, and before the full force of mechanised destruction was unleashed on our five star peace and quiet and four star scenery by SSE/Viking Energy.

Clearly, they visited the quietest and most scenic pre-glacial valley in Scotland before it was torn apart and visually destroyed to create a vast opencast pit for the Kergord converter station.

Clearly, they spent time in Shetland before the endless sound of hammering from rock breakers, punctuated only by the frequent roar of giant trucks and the crashing of excavator buckets.

Clearly, they didn’t see our low rolling moorland hills and purple heather slopes permanently scarred by wide roads of white limestone joining up vast quarries and turbine bases.

Clearly, they didn’t glimpse the endless chain of flashing bird scarers through the clouds of limestone dust sweeping down the hillsides in the wake of construction vehicles being driven far too fast.

Clearly, they weren’t here to enjoy a moment’s respite when all fell silent for a short time, only to be shattered by an unannounced blast reverberating down the valleys.

The ‘Which’ survey shows up the lie that was promoted by Viking Energy in their sham consultations that “tourism viewpoints only look out to sea”; a lie recently endorsed by a recent advert on Scottish television.

Should ‘Which’ conduct more visitor surveys in years to come, will they award “four stars for scenery” when every hill top from North Yell to Cunningsburgh and from Nesting to Aith are festooned with 200 metre tall turbines towering above permanently scarred and blackened hillsides.

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Will visitors award “five stars for peace and quiet” when these noisy giant industrial machines churn away in continuous chains almost the full length and breadth of Shetland?

Will visitors strain their ears in vain to hear the horse-gook in the simmer dim through the industrial din when machines designed for offshore installations are allowed as close as 800 metres to houses?

Even away from the valleys echoing to the windfarms racket, any pockets of silence will be punctuated by the blast of rocket launches in Unst and the roar from their engine test beds in Scatsta.

Allen Fraser

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