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Construction compound plan dropped to avoid sensitive habitat

February 28th 2020

Discovery of a rare habitat on the hill between Tresta and Weisdale has prompted Viking Energy to drop plans for a large temporary construction compound.

Stag-horn’s clubmoss found on the Sound of Scord

The planning application for the West Compound envisaged developing a site within an area of up to 200 square metres to use for a period of up to five years while the wind farm is built. However, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency expressed concerns about the effect on sensitive plant life discovered on the site at the Scord of Sound.

Viking Energy has now withdrawn the proposal and will make do with a compound half the size nearby, which was granted permission in 2012 along with the rest of the wind farm.

The sensitive habitat was reported by Dr Andy Mackenzie, an independent ecological consultant tasked by Viking Energy to study the sites of three proposed construction compounds for the wind farm.

He warned of potential impact on a type of so-called ground water-dependent terrestrial ecosystem (GWDTE) found on limestone rock, which is a relatively rare type of habitat in Shetland. Most of the vegetation in Shetland is influenced by the acids in the rocks and bogs.

He also recorded the presence of the locally rare plant Stag’s-horn clubmoss (Lycopodium clavatum). When the book Rare Plants of Shetland was written in 2002 this clubmoss was thought to be extinct in the islands.  

Viking Energy is currently awaiting the outcome of its planning applications to build the Main Compound near Sandwater and the North Compound near Scar Quilse, south of Voe.