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Community / Viking set to appeal batching plant planning decision

An aerial view of the Scar Quilse compound - at the northern end of the Lang Kames - with two concrete batching plants. Photo: Viking Energy

WIND farm developer SSE Renewables is likely to appeal a decision by Shetland Islands Council’s planning committee to refuse the company’s application to move the location of two concrete batching plants within its Viking Energy construction site.

Monday’s decision by councillors sitting as the planning committee came as a surprise as it went against officers’ recommendations.

During the meeting, head of planning Iain McDiarmid warned of the potential cost to the council should the applicant successfully appeal the decision.

Viking Energy had applied to move two previously consented batching plants nearer to where the concrete is needed for turbine bases to reduce impact and work more efficiently.

The move would have included the creation of two 8,000 square metre platforms made of compacted stone, 1.5 km northwest of Skellister Loch and 1.8km north west of Upper Kergord.

The move to reject both applications – led by Shetland Central member Moraig Lyall and backed by Shetland North’s Andrea Manson – was made partly because of increased awareness of the value and environmental benefits of peat, as well as concerns over the potential of dust emanating from the sites.

Committee chair Emma Macdonald won no seconder for her motion to approve the plans.

Viking Energy has now expressed its disappointment with the decision “to turn down longstanding applications for two alternative locations for what are already consented concrete batching plants”.

A statement issued to Shetland News said: “The applications would have located them in remoter areas, closer to the ongoing construction works.

“The decision will mean concrete batches will unnecessarily need to be transported over longer distances and there will be greater use of the public road network in the central Mainland for concrete deliveries as a consequence.

“Despite this, we will continue to plan operations in a way which seeks to minimise disruption to the travelling public.

“Our team awaits formal notification of the decision by the council and we expect to lodge an appeal.

“Concrete pours on the required turbine bases are now well underway, supplied from the already consented batching plants at Scar Quilse.”