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Energy / Wind farm planning appeal to be lodged before Christmas

An aerial view of the Scar Quilse compound - at the northern end of the Lang Kames - where concrete is currently being made. Photo: Viking Energy

VIKING Energy’s appeal against a decision by councillors to reject a proposal to move the location of two concrete batching plants is set to be lodged in the coming weeks.

The decision, made by Shetland Islands Council’s planning committee in September, went against the recommendation of officers.

A Viking Energy Wind Farm (VEWF) spokesperson said on Monday: “I can confirm that the recent batching plant decisions will be appealed.

“The relevant submissions are being finalised by VEWF’s legal advisors and are expected to be lodged with the Scottish Government before the Christmas break.”

Appeals against planning decisions in Scotland are taken up by a Scottish Government department.

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

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.

The wind farm developer previously told Shetland News that the decision would 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”.

But it said it would press on with operations in a “way which seeks to minimise disruption to the travelling public”.

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

In early 2020 the owner of the Sella Ness accommodation facility won an appeal against a decision by the committee to refuse further temporary planning permission for the camp.

The council was ordered to pay the appealer’s expenses.

Last year a freedom of information request from Shetland News for the cost of the expenses was turned down as the council felt public interest in maintaining an exemption over the information outweighed the public interest in disclosure.