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Energy / Some wind farm works halted due to nesting birds – but no delays to the overall project

A great skua - or bonxie - with chick. Photo: Shetland News

SSE RENEWABLES has confirmed that construction work on the massive Viking Energy wind farm has been halted at five locations within the site to date due to nesting birds.

However, the overall construction programme has sufficient flexibility to allow work effort to be redirected elsewhere, according to Viking stakeholder manager Aaron Priest.

He said there have been no consequent delays to overall project progress.

The developer is required by law to put in place measures to preserve the natural habitat of native breeding birds, including curlew, whimbrel, bonxie and many other ground nesting birds throughout construction.

Priest said of the five sites three were still affected and being monitored to ensure the birds are not disturbed, and to keep the construction team informed.

He added that the developer’s environmental team has put in place over 100 buffer zones.

There are nearly 200 “crop guards” currently deployed which are said to have reduced the potential interaction between nesting birds and construction.

“A dedicated, expert local environmental monitoring and management team, which includes ornithological specialists, is employed on the site,” he said.

Examples of their work include:

  • Halting of works in a nesting area and diverting operations elsewhere until the fledglings have left the nest;
  • Establishment of disturbance buffer zones to minimise or exclude work within the zone where disturbance is possible;
  • Deviation of the proposed track route (micro siting) to avoid a nest area.