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Energy / Consultation on future use of £2.2m annual Viking Energy benefit money extended to community

An impression of how part of the Viking Energy wind farm will look.

EVERY household in the isles is to be asked for their views on funding priorities for the £2.2 million a year Shetland Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) is due to receive from the Viking Energy wind farm once it becomes operational next year.

The major consultation, being organised for SCBF by the consultants IBP Strategy and Research, started last year with over 20 focus groups and other meetings and interviews being held in the islands, looking to identify priorities and ideas for the use of this funding.

The consultation is now being extended to give everyone in Shetland the chance to contribute, with a survey questionnaire developed by IBP being delivered to every household in Shetland over two weeks, starting on Monday (3 April).

Residents will also be able to complete the survey online should they wish or to contact IBP to give their views by a telephone interview.

Local business and voluntary/community groups will also be invited to take part in similar surveys to gather their views.

The results of this major consultation will be used by SCBF to prepare a business plan detailing the funding priorities for the £2.2 million Viking Community Fund.

This figure is arrived by £5,000 being paid out per installed megawatt (MW) capacity. The Viking Energy wind farm is total around 443MW.

The Viking fund, however, has already been providing £400,000 a year during the construction phase for community projects in an ‘advance grant’ scheme.

Under this scheme money is allocated to community councils, which decide on funding applications.

Full details of the SCBF consultation are available online. An online version of the survey is expected to be available on the website from 3 April.

SCBF chair Chris Bunyan said this was one of the most detailed and comprehensive consultations ever carried out in the islands.

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“It is vital the SCBF use the Viking community fund money in ways that reflect the priorities of local communities and the local economy,” Bunyan said.

“That is why we have commissioned this consultation and the results will help direct how and where the money is used”.

“I would urge everyone to participate and complete the survey when it is delivered by Royal Mail.

“Extra copies of the survey are available, and you can also take part online or by telephone”.

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