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Energy / Litter on wind farm site an ‘ongoing issue’

Meanwhile a public car park will be constructed at Sandwater once the wind farm is complete

Photo: Shetland News

LITTERING on the Viking Energy wind farm site is an “ongoing issue”, according to the project’s latest planning officer monitoring report.

The issue was first raised in a previous report last year, but the latest update, which covers the period 18 December to 19 January, said: “Littering across the site is an ongoing issue, and litter picking across the site continues to be undertaken.”

It added that the state of littering across the site should be noted during the next planning monitoring officer audit visit.

A spokesperson for developer SSE Renewables said in response: “We continue to ensure all staff remain vigilant when it comes to keeping the site tidy.”

The report last year said that litter had been noted on ponds in the area, and around turbine locations.

There was a reminder that litter can present a risk to fauna from entanglement and ingestion, and a mention of contractors receiving talks about littering.

Construction work has been ongoing on the hills of the Central Mainland for the last couple of years.

Work was completed on erecting all 103 turbines last year, and preparatory work continues ahead of the wind farm going live in the second half of 2024.

Meanwhile the Viking Energy team have confirmed that another public car park is planned near to the wind farm at Sandwater.

It comes after it emerged that the north compound used during the wind farm’s construction, just south of Voe, has been earmarked by Viking Energy for a public car park for recreational use.

The one at Sandwater will be designed for commuter and recreational parking, and it will be located close to the junction between the A970 and the B9075.

Unlike the one proposed for the north compound, the public car park at Sandwater is required as part of a planning condition imposed by Shetland Islands Council a number of years ago when it approved the creation of a new double-track road from next to the Halfway House into Kergord.

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The planning condition states that the carpark would be used to “accommodate previously displaced vehicles as well as those driven by people who may be encouraged to the area” for recreation.

It says the reason for the condition is to “facilitate the timeous provision of an adequate permanent public parking area to benefit the local community and in the interests of road and public safety”.

Planning permission will need to be sought for the north compound car park, but not the one at Sandwater because it is the subject of a planning condition.

When the construction of the wind farm is completed, 70km of wind farm tracks will be made accessible to people on foot, bicycle or horse.

The new Sandwater road, which lies adjacent to the current single track one, was created to initially serve wind farm construction traffic.

But once it is completed and longer needed for wind farm traffic, it will be brought up to standard and become the new public access route into towards Kergord, with a handover to the council expected later this year.

The existing B9705 will then be ‘stopped up’ public traffic and instead will be able to be used by walkers and cyclists.

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