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Energy / More time to respond to Viking community benefit survey

A fully complete turbine at the wind farm site. Photo: SSE Renewables

MORE than 1,000 people in Shetland have responded to a consultation on how community benefit money from the Viking Energy wind farm is spent.

But the deadline has been extended for another two weeks, to 19 May, to allow more people to respond.

Surveys were recently posted out to all households by Shetland Community Benefit Fund (SCBF) – the independent organisation which distributes the Viking money.

It is currently running an advance grant scheme worth around £400,000 a year during the wind farm construction, which goes to community projects.

But once the wind farm goes live in 2024 that will rise to £2.2 million a year.

Residents who have yet to complete the consultation questionnaire can do so by visiting here, where they can complete the survey online or print off a hard copy questionnaire if preferred.

Invitations to take part in a similar survey are also now being issued to local business and voluntary/community groups and these surveys can be found at the same location.

SCBF chair Chris Bunyan said: “The responses we have had so far are already providing us with great information on the priorities of people in local communities across Shetland as well as identifying people’s specific ideas – this will be of great value in developing the business plan for the use of this funding in the future.

“I am delighted that we have been able to give people more time to take part if they need it, and would urge everyone to participate, whether by completing the survey online, downloading and sending back a paper copy or by requesting a telephone interview.”

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 the £2.2 million-a-year funding.

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

Under the advance grant scheme currently underway money is allocated to community councils, which then decide on funding applications.

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