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Community / Kergord batching plant may no longer be needed

Concrete is poured at turbine base K56 looking over Lamba Water and Maa Water. Photo: Viking Energy Wind Farm

THERE may be no longer a need for a concrete batching plant at Upper Kergord, it was suggested at a virtual meeting of the Viking Community Liaison Group on Tuesday night – after it emerged that the developer had already poured 11 turbine bases in the west of the wind farm site.

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Viking Energy’s stakeholder engagement manager Aaron Priest had some difficulty explaining why a batching plant was still needed in the western fringes of the wind farm site after praising progress made in pouring turbine bases.

Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale community councillor Neil Leask asked what the point was in such a move as it would “surely” increase the amount of heavy traffic on public road and not decrease it as is claimed by the developer.

Leask was challenging Priest on SSE Renewables’ decision to appeal a council planning decision that prevented the wind farm developer from changing the location of two previously consented concrete batching plants.

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Leask suggested that, contrary to SSE’s claims, progress on the wind farm construction site was not hampered by last September’s council decision.

The developer lodged the appeal just before Christmas saying it fell into ”serious error” when elected members decided not to grant permission to move the batching plants to near Upper Kergord and to the north west of Skellister Loch.

Viking Energy claims that relocating the batching plants would cut down on long drives with time-sensitive concrete, increase efficiency and decrease heavy traffic on the A970.

But Leask claimed the opposite was the case, suggesting the plant at Kergord was no longer needed and if built would increase traffic on public roads.

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“But surely that will increase the road usage, if they are using the mixing plant at Kergord,” he said.

Priest conceded that it could be a “possibility” that the Kergord plant was no longer needed but added that he had no knowledge in what sequence contractor RJ Macleod was planning “to develop the bases”.

“But certainly, the South Nesting batching plant application will still be alive by the time, hopefully, the appeal is heard,” Priest added.

Concreate for the turbine bases is currently made at Viking’s Scar Quilse compound at the north end of the Lang Kames.

During the meeting Priest updated the liaison group on construction progress saying that more than 90 per cent of the 69 km long track network were now completed, 22 of the 103 turbine bases have been poured and that work was on schedule for the first turbine components to arrive in Shetland by early next year.

The SSE manager also confirmed that any decision on developing the controversial NE6 borrow pit near housing at Newing in South Nesting continue to “be parked” until a meeting with local residents had taken place.

Priest said the company would soon contact residents to find a suitable date for that meeting.

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