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Letters / Time to take a grip

Open letter to all SIC councillors

While SSE celebrates a ‘milestone’ with the completion of the first turbine, it is a disgrace that a Financial Bond is still not in place, despite best efforts by members of the community.

Without repeating the same information again, suffice it to say that the bond was a condition of the 24 May 2019 approval, and it was down to the local planning authority to ensure that it was in place before construction started.

Shetland will have the largest onshore wind farm in Europe, yet is the only place in Scotland which does not have end of life security in place for a S36 (50MW and over) wind farm. This is a shameful example of how the project has been conducted from the start.

Numerous assurances on the bond have been given over the past four years, the latest in July 2022, when Aaron Priest was quoted in the Shetland Times as stating “it’s extremely close to being instigated”.

Prior assurance was given by the [SIC] chief executive in November 2021, when she stated “the council and developer are satisfied that they have an appropriate mechanism ready to be put in place and hope to do so shortly”.

The condition was not put in place to “satisfy” the developer, but was one of the standard conditions of planning approval to offer protection to the community, and also took care of non-agreement with the developer should this situation arise. We are now well into 2023 and still it is not in place.

There has been no accountability for this massive dereliction, and we would urge that councillors take a grip of the situation and ensure that immediate arrangements are put in place to secure a sufficient bond.

Councillors are elected to represent the community, and the authority bestowed by the position should not be delegated to non-elected officials on far reaching decisions.

Whilst we can appreciate that a councillor’s role is not always an easy one, there is a general feeling that councillors are not in control and the community has been badly let down since the VE project was conceived and continues to be so with further plans afoot to convert our precious islands into an “Energy Hub”.

When will the SIC start listening to its constituents’ fears, and start actually protecting their communities instead of allowing big business to trample all over them?

Save Shetland
Ernie Ramaker
Wormadale

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