Sunday 25 February 2024
 5.6°C   WNW Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Energy / RSPB will keep a close eye on Energy Isles wind farm development

Norwegian company Statkraft plans to develop a 18 turbine wind farm in Yell. This image is a visualisation of what it could look like. Photo: Energy Isles

THE RSPB says it will “continue to try to get the best outcome” for nature in Shetland after the approval for the Energy Isles wind farm in Yell.

RSPB Shetland maintained an objection to the 18-turbine development due to the “significant adverse impacts on nationally important peatlands”.

It withdrew an objection in relation to impacts on birds.

The Energy Isles wind farm was given consent by the Scottish Government earlier this month, with construction set to begin by 2025.

While developer Statkraft says it will help with the push to net zero, the development attracted some objections during the planning process – particularly given that the wind farm would be built on blanket bog peatland.

Writing in an online blog, RSPB’s Shetland manager Helen Moncrieff has offered her reaction to consent being given.

She said the charity will now take time to understand the conditions set down by government – but added that it will continue to press for the best outcome in the peatland restoration.

“This is the first wind farm consented in Shetland after the adoption of the National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), a national planning policy document which must be considered when determining such developments,” Moncrieff said.

“This includes policies which aim to protect and restore peatlands and enhance biodiversity.

“We will continue to try to get the best outcome for nature and hope that Shetland Islands Council and Scottish Government will ensure that the peatland restoration proposals are fully implemented and if not found to be effective, further compensation is provided.

“I am aware some folk believe we do not do enough to prevent wind farm developments, but I am proud of the work that my colleagues past and present did and continue to do.

“Whilst our objections have not prevented any of the large developments in Shetland, we have been active in trying to secure a better future for Shetland’s important peatland biodiversity.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

“For example, we have been fundamental in bringing a range of organisations together with a keen interest in peatlands to form a Shetland peatland partnership and are currently finalising a comprehensive strategy to benefit peatlands, biodiversity and people.

“RSPB Scotland also manages peatland nature reserves for the benefit of breeding birds and other biodiversity, have ambitious plans for restoration, and we work closely with crofters and farmers across Shetland to help access agri-environment schemes with moorland options.

“We will continue to do our best during these days of multiple pressures on nature and climate.”

Moncrieff said peatlands are important for “so many reasons”, including for wildlife and for gathering and storing carbon.

She said the peatland which will be lost or damaged by the Energy Isles development is of a “really good quality – something that is rare in Scotland because 75 per cent of our peatlands are damaged or degraded, and should be treasured”.

“RSPB Scotland has a great deal of experience of peatland management and restoration in Shetland and elsewhere in the UK,” Moncrieff added.

“Although some peatland restoration is proposed, we do not think that this would compensate for the loss of ‘active’ blanket bog that is in good condition, and which captures and stores carbon in addition to being a nationally important habitat in its own right.”

The RSPB manager added that as a Shetlander, “I have a long and deep connection with the nature we share these islands with, and a great love of the open spaces of the landscape”.

“In recent years, I have struggled with the industrialisation of hill ground under wind farms, and the impacts it has had on our communities who are both for and against the developments for many reasons,” Moncrieff continued.

“In RSPB Scotland, we recognise the need to deliver renewable energy if we are to meet our climate change targets.

“However, development needs to be carefully sited to avoid the most damaging impacts on nature. In Shetland, we formally objected to Viking Energy, Mossy Hill and Beaw Field developments, but each were granted consent.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.