An onshore wind farm on Shetland, which is expected to be one of the most productive in the world, has been cleared for go ahead after the final legal challenge was dismissed.
The UK Supreme Court in London dismissed the appeal by Sustainable Shetland, judging that there was insufficient reason to stop the 103-turbine project.
The 370MW development, which has the potential to power more than 175,000 homes and could bring in £30 million annual income to the local community, was first approved in 2012. The group Sustainable Shetland which brought the legal challenges claimed it could threaten populations of the endangered whimbrel while also have a damaging visual impact.
Alan Bryce Chairman, Viking Energy, said: “We are delighted the Supreme Court has endorsed the planning consent for Viking wind farm, granted in April 2012.
“We can now concentrate on developing what would be one of the world’s most productive wind farms, to generate renewable energy and significant income for the Shetland community. We are looking forward to making progress during 2015.”
Frank Hay, Chairman, Sustainable Shetland, said: “”Our opposition to the wind farm – and its dire implications for the Shetland community and environment – remains undiminished.
“What we do next as far as that is concerned depends to a certain extent on a properly considered reading of the judgement, on what options are available to us outwith legal action, and on the wishes of our members.”
Sustainable Shetland raised some £40,000 for islanders and well-wishers to pay for its legal costs after it first decided to challenge the original planning decision by Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. Last year, the Court of Session in Edinburgh – Scotland’s top civil court – also upheld Ewing’s decision.
The Viking wind farm is a joint venture between the Shetland community and Perth-based utility company, SSE.
It will consist of 103 wind turbines up to 145m tall to the blade tips, set in the central Mainland of Shetland. The consent allows a potential output of up to 457 megawatts, which would make it the third-largest wind farm in Scotland.
Around 140 people will be needed during construction and around 35 permanent operational jobs will now be created in the development