Three of Scotland’s top judges have ruled that Viking Energy should keep its government consent to build a 103-turbine wind farm in Shetland.
Lord Brodie delivered the Opinion of The Inner House of the Court of Session that the consent application was competent, that Scottish ministers acted lawfully in issuing the decision letter and there was no breach of the EU Birds Directive.
Viking Energy Shetland chairman Alan Bryce said:
“We are pleased that the judges have found in favour of Scottish ministers, who awarded consent to build the wind farm more than two years ago. Their decision has been vindicated today and we can now move on.
“We believed the consent decision would stand up to the closest scrutiny and this outcome validates our position that this project can benefit the local and wider environment.
“The potential for substantial economic and environmental benefits for Shetland means that Viking Energy is in this for the long haul and we continue to look forward to advancing our plans to build what could become the world’s most productive wind farm and a crown jewel of Shetland’s economy.”
The full court judgment can be read here.
Meanwhile a Scottish Government spokesperson said:
“The judgement is a positive outcome for Scottish Ministers. In April 2012 they granted consent for Viking Wind Farm on the Shetland mainland and this decision allows work to begin towards delivering this wind farm project. Ministers are pleased to note that the courts have confirmed application may continue to be accepted from parties who do not hold a generation license at the time of application.
“We also welcome that the courts have confirmed that the Scottish Ministers’ decision was lawful and that they had proper regard to the likely impact of the grant of consent on wild bird population. This is welcome news for the renewables industry in Scotland.
“The Viking wind farm is forecast to bring £566m of capital expenditure and an annual income of £30m per year to the islands, including £20m to the Shetland Charitable Trust.
“The wind farm plays a crucial part in triggering the installation of a proposed 600MW subsea cable to the Scottish mainland, allowing Shetland to export electricity to the mainland. Establishing this infrastructure will also be a great incentive to other energy technologies being developed on the island.
“This Government remains steadfast in its aim to achieve a thriving renewables industry in Scotland and to develop our reputation as a world leader in this field, in order to enhance Scotland’s manufacturing capacity, to develop new indigenous industries, particularly in rural areas, and to provide significant export opportunities as well as local and community ownership and community benefits.”
Photographed is (l) The Right Honourable Lord Brodie (Philip Hope Brodie) and (r) Up Helly Aa in Shetland