An independent study into the health impact of Shetland’s planned Viking
Energy wind farm has been published too late to influence the 103 turbine
development.

Joint wind farm developer Shetland Charitable Trust commissioned the study
last summer as a condition before releasing a further £6.3 million towards
the massive project.

The 48 page report, carried out independently by NHS Shetland’s director of
public health Dr Sarah Taylor, was discussed by the trust for the first
time on Thursday.

Trustees also saw a written response to the trust from Viking Energy’s
project officer David Thomson, who said the company had carried out
extensive consultation and done everything they could to mitigate possible
health risks.

“As a project and as an organisation we are satisfied that the risk of
negative health effects arising from the Viking Energy wind farm
development has been minimised to acceptable levels in all cases,” Thomson
wrote.

Trustee Drew Ratter, who chaired the trust when the report was
commissioned, told Thursday’s meeting the only decision they could make was
whether or not to invest in an “already consented” wind farm.

NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh observed that “the horses have already
bolted”, but said he still wanted Viking Energy to shed more light on the
siting of some of the turbines.

“I would like some reassurances that the developer can demonstrate more
clearly how this particular configuration of turbines would not give rise
to some of the health problems despite their proximity to dwellings,” he said.

He added that trustees had to make up their mind whether they wanted to be
part of the project and invest its forecast returns of around £20 million
back into the community, or pull out and have no influence.

He also warned that there were plenty of investors waiting to take the
trust’s place. Kinniburgh should be able to question Viking during a
private meeting of the trust’s investment committee.

Newly appointed trustee Allison Duncan called for a further independent
health assessment to be commissioned.

He failed to find a seconder, but chairman Bobby Hunter said his request
would be noted.


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