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Ground investigations to get under way across wind farm site

July 8th 2019
A BAM Ritchies' drilling rig in operation

Viking Energy is set to begin a programme of ground investigations across the wind farm site. The work by specialist contractor BAM Ritchies is due to get under way in the week commencing 15th July and may last approximately three months.

The results will provide valuable information to help with the detailed final design of access tracks and turbine bases for the 103-turbine wind farm, which could go into construction later this year.

The work will involve up to 50 people undertaking drilling, trial pits and environmental monitoring. BAM Ritchies will be based at a temporary compound to be constructed from 8th July at Rova Head, north of Lerwick, and will also use smaller additional compounds on site for supplies and equipment.

Around 90 bore holes will be drilled with rigs towed by specialised lightweight Hagglund vehicles with rubber tracks (see photo), which are valued for their low impact on peat lands. For the trial pits, two tracked excavators will be operated by a local team from Frank L Johnston (Shetland) Ltd.

A team of environmental and archaeological inspectors will be on site during the works to monitor activities and help minimise any environmental impact.

To minimise ground disturbance, a helicopter will be used each day to transport equipment and personnel to and from working positions in the wind farm site, avoiding the need for frequent traversing of the hillsides by tracked vehicles.

Plans for the works were discussed with representatives of community councils and crofters at a meeting in Whiteness & Weisdale Hall on 11th June. The next meeting will see the formal establishment of the Viking Wind Farm Community Liaison Group which will act as a forum for updates and discussion between the community and the project team.

Information updates will be provided during the works, including through the local media, and a contact number will be issued for people seeking further information or wishing to report an incident. In the meantime, please contact the local Viking Energy office on 01595 692227.