This week, SSE the environmental vandals and habitat destroyers of Shetland’s hills and valleys, presents itself in smiling consultation mode to the Shetland public; a ‘consultation’ over ever more plans to dig up, concrete over and further industrialise the islands.

I have taken issue with every environmental statement, carbon payback falsity, green renewable energy nonsense and just about every word they have ever printed or uttered since they set their profit driven eyes on Shetland.

I would love to have organised a big protest but what is the point?

They can and will do exactly what they want with these islands and in the surrounding waters aided and abetted by the two-faced SNP Scottish Government and yet another SIC administration that cares more about itself than the community, a community which it has totally failed for nine or more years now.

The Scottish planning system, where all this rotten mess stems from, is utterly rigged in favour of the developer with absolutely no say for the public.

So let’s be clear here, the term ‘consultation’ has a few subtle meanings depending on who is consulting who and why.

For example if you consult with a surgeon about a medical procedure, he or she will explain your condition and the options you have and allow you to choose the best outcome for you or not, if you choose not to – it’s your choice.

If you consult with an architect or builder about a new building or serious repair, you again will be given the information, reasons, best outcomes you can expect and again it’s your right to choose. This is the most common interpretation of ‘to consult’.

However in the case of the Scottish planning system it has a different meaning.

This kind of ‘consultation’ is a legal tick box requirement to all agencies, bodies, government departments, developers, should they seek too make changes that will impact on parts of the community they serve or operate in.

It is done to give the public a totally false feeling that their opinions are being listened to, and to allow the originators of said consultations to tick the box in their list of compliance tasks, and then carry on as planned.

There is no obligation to take any notice of the publics views, concerns or objections, though some say they do take notice of the publics comments but there is scant evidence to show much meaningful change in the original plans or proposals.

So in reality, the public have no rights or meaningful input into any of it.

The system is so corrupted that even the few local authorities that stand against some destructive developments that their communities don’t not want are easily brushed aside by the SNP and the behind the scenes relationships between the various departments and the developers lobbying firms.

Sadly in our case, the SIC didn’t even try or ask the general public.

So don’t be taken in by SSE’s meaningless ‘consultation’ stage act, even if they offer you cucumber sandwiches or some sweeties or other, and remember that this disastrous destruction unfolding in front of our eyes will further add to Shetland’s fuel poverty quite considerably, as it is not in SSE’s power too set up a ‘Shetland Tariff’ to address this.

Again, we will see Shetland producing the energy to be sold cheaply down sooth but paying a premium on it coming back.

Vic Thomas

SAS Volunteer

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