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Energy / Wind farm developer applies to use borrow pit material for private agricultural track

THE DEVELOPER of the Viking Energy wind farm has sought to vary the terms of its consent so that 20,000 tonnes of material taken from ‘borrow pits’ on site can be used to create a private agricultural track.

SSE Renewables said doing this would save around 1,000 HGV lorry movements on the public road network.

The change of consent has been applied for to allow materials extracted from borrow pits within the wind farm site to be used for the construction of an agricultural track.

A borrow pit is where material is excavated from the ground for use on site.

Under the existing consent materials extracted from borrow pits has to be used solely for the construction of the wind farm.

The proposed track is said to be largely located within the wind farm site boundary and has prior approval. It would be built for applicant GB and AM Anderson between Setter and Muckle Scord at the Kergord farm.

As part of lease arrangements with the landowner, it has been agreed that Viking Energy Wind Farm (VEWF) will construct the track.

It is estimated that around 20,000 tonnes of material would be required.

SSE Renewables’ submission to the planning service said: “In utilising an existing VEWF borrow pit situated within the wind farm construction site to extract material for construction of the track, it is estimated the construction period would be reduced to six weeks.

“If a local quarry, such as Vatster or Sullom is to be used for material extraction the estimated construction period is 10 weeks.”

It added that materials extracted from a local quarry would require three lorries, each delivering seven loads per day. However under the proposal the vehicle movements would largely be contained to wind farm tracks.

“Finally, there is sufficient material within the existing borrow pits to enable construction of the proposed track and utilising this material would conserve materials within existing quarries for other future civil construction projects within Shetland,” the letter adds.

“Using materials from onsite borrow pits will reduce the environmental impacts of vehicle movements on the public road network and will be beneficial in terms of reducing any detrimental impacts on both amenity and public safety.

“Given that materials exist within the existing borrow pits that can be used, any extension to working at these borrow pits to extract the additional materials is unlikely to outweigh the reduction in environmental and amenity impacts of reduced vehicle movements on the public road.”

SSE said there are “no development plan policies identified” which would deter against a variation of the planning condition in question.