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Council / Plan to use materials from wind farm site for farm track withdrawn for now

Construction of the large wind farm started in summer of 2020. Photo: Shetland News

A PROPOSAL to vary the terms of the Viking Energy wind farm consent so that 20,000 tonnes of material taken from ‘borrow pits’ on site could be used to create a private agricultural track has been withdrawn.

A spokesperson for Viking Energy Wind Farm (VEWF) said the withdrawal would allow time to re-examine options – adding that the application may be resubmitted at a later date.

The initial application drew objections from a community council as well as campaign groups and members of the public.

The change of consent was applied for to allow materials extracted from borrow pits within the wind farm site to be used for the construction of a private agricultural track, reducing the proposed construction time by four weeks.

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

Under the existing consent materials extracted from borrow pits have 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 VEWF would construct the track.

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

SSE Renewables said taking material from wind farm borrow pits would save around 1,000 HGV lorry movements on the public road network.

The Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale Community Council objected to the plans, saying it could set a precedent for wider use of borrow pits beyond the specific construction for which they had been approved.

This was the main reason behind most of the objections.

However, Delting Community Council wrote in support of the application on environmental grounds.

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A VEWF spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a S.42 application to vary planning conditions to allow material from one of the project’s borrow pits to be used in the construction of a (separately consented) short farm track, from Setter up to the ridge near Scallafield, has been withdrawn for the time being.

“The withdrawal will allow VEWF to re-examine options and it may be resubmitted at a later date.”

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