The Viking Wind Farm is categorised as a major development because it has a planned capacity of more than 20MW. Projects of such scale are now legally required to consult about their impact prior to submitting planning applications. Those to be consulted include the community and specified official bodies such as Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
The Viking Energy Partnership chose to adhere to the new requirements before they came into force, consulting extensively with a wide range of community organisations and interest groups including community councils, Shetland Amenity Trust, the Shetland Tourism Association, Shetland Bird Club and RSPB as well as the statutory bodies. A series of pre-advertised public meetings was held throughout Shetland.
In addition, members of the community were invited to complete a questionnaire on the project’s website or give feedback via phone, email and social media.
Two Windylights brochures with feedback forms were published and distributed with the weekly Shetland Times newspaper and exhibitions where scale models were put on display were held in community halls around the wind farm site.