Supreme Court unanimously dismisses challenge to Shetland windfarm plans

viking-energy-windfarm-final-layoutA legal challenge over a 103-turbine wind farm in Shetland has been unanimously rejected by the UK Supreme Court.

Scottish ministers approved the plan from Viking Energy for a large windfarm in the Central Mainland of Shetland in 2012, but planning consent was set aside in October 2013 when campaigners raised concerns over the development’s impact on local wildlife.

Campaign group Sustainable Shetland (SS) alleged that the ministers had failed to take proper account of the affect the development could have on the whimbrel, a protected migratory bird. Scottish National Heritage (SNH) also made similar objections.

In July last year, three of Scotland’s top judges ruled that Viking’s proposal was competent and decided ministers had acted lawfully in their decision to approve the wind farm.

Now the Supreme Court has today rejected the appeal by SS and also declined to refer the case to the European Court of Justice.

Alan Bryce, chairman of Viking Energy, said he was “delighted” that the Supreme Court had endorsed the planning consent.

He said: “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.

“I would like to thank all who have supported us in reaching this positive outcome. Viking Energy looks forward to making progress during 2015.”

The wind farm could power more than 175,000 homes and would be expected to contribute around £30m to the local community each year.

Last year, a study by the British Trust for Ornithology and the University of the Highlands and Islands found that more than 99 per cent of seabirds avoid offshore wind turbines.

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