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Friday 19 July 2024
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Letters / More information is required

Letters by Magnie Stuart and William Polson quite rightly drew attention to the historic importance of the fishing industry to Shetland and voiced concern about its future.

They also alluded to the neglect in the past by the authorities of associated matters such as harbour improvements, fish factories, ferries, fixed links, fisheries policies etc.

This of course now becomes much more relevant to the local fishing industry business, and the wellbeing of all of Shetland when consideration has to be given to the incursion and intrusion of wind farms, their number and size.

Indeed there are press reports that the Shetland Fishermen’s Association are “hugely concerned” that proper assessments into how the offshore industry will affect fishing are not being made in the Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round and the process should be slowed down.

Recently it was reported that councillor Moraig Lyall said she felt a “huge swathe” of the community still had “very little understanding of the project”.

However there has been a large amount of information published on the websites of Orion, Northern Lights – (Equinor/Statoil/Aker, Shell, Total), Cerulean, SIC and Scottish Government, which no doubt will be updated as time progresses and are readily available to view.

Perhaps it would be helpful if they could provide more information such as:

  • the production, update and display of maps and charts showing and naming each proposal area, with the number of turbines on it, spaces in between them/density and indicate their sizes and MWs, and how far each area is from the shoreline;
  • the types of wind farm proposed in each area, with information on if these will be stand-alone, fixed to the seabed, or will they be of the floating type (centre of gravity below the centre of buoyancy). Floating turbines will likely have three positional anchor chains to the seabed. If so, these would prohibit vessels from fishing in that entire area. It would also mean a very large reduction to those rich harvest areas and an economic loss to not only fishing crews but to the wider Shetland and national economies. However, there will obviously be an economic benefit to the offshore wind farm operators, and in the case of the area north of Unst, to Norwegian based companies therefore it might be appropriate that the UK government should get an increased fishing quota for the Shetland fleet in the Norwegian or British sectors as continued compensation? and in addition similar compensation from the other areas as well;
  • how is the electricity generated by each turbine to be connected up – in a grid perhaps, and then connected by one group line to the shore station? Will such lines be buried (disturbance to the seabed and the marine habitat). Will they be plastic, composite or perhaps the new steel ones being developed by Siemens?

Recently it has been reported that a company has designed an alternative structure to the windmill’s three vaned system, a one stalk rotating vertical structure which will always be aligned to the wind direction (no need for a complicated nacelle?)

Such a structure may allow more turbines in the same area than three bladed structures. Perhaps that version may be more friendly to the bird populations.

I note that one display shows that Orion has turbines to both the east and the west coasts, but is the west area now within the Cerulean orbit?

Are the turbines inside the 12-mile area within the remit of the Crown Estate (Holyrood), whereas those situated outside 12 miles will be in UK territorial waters and subject to UK Government approval and control.

There is much more that is required to be known.

Cecil Robertson

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