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Viking welcomes evidence of negligible pollution risk from turbine blade erosion

December 13th 2021

Viking Energy Wind Farm (VEWF) has welcomed a recent presentation providing facts and evidence on the potential for any turbine blade deterioration to impact on the local environment. The information was provided to Shetland Wind Farm Environmental Advisory Group (SWEAG) at its latest biannual meeting, chaired by Professor Joe Holden of Leeds University.

Spokesperson for VEWF, Aaron Priest, said: “SWEAG recently requested a detailed presentation on the issue of possible local pollution risk from turbine blade erosion for its meeting on Wednesday 1st December. The presentation set out clear facts as to why no such risk realistically exists and why recent suggestions to the contrary appear to have been based on flawed data and some fundamental misinterpretations of known facts and recent academic research.

"In reality, only a small proportion of the leading edge of turbine blades is at risk from such erosion; all blades are sealed with erosion resistant, non-epoxy/non-toxic paint, with increased layering on the leading edge; all blades are additionally sealed with durable gel coat protection on the leading edge; and all blades are subject to a constant and ongoing inspection and maintenance regime on these protective coatings to maintain their structural integrity and optimise their commercial efficiency.

“VEWF shares SWEAG’s view that the presentation provided compelling evidence that potential pollution risk from turbine blade erosion is negligible. VEWF is a responsible developer and, at all times, seeks to ensure that it operates to the highest health and safety, and environmental disciplines and standards”.

Slides from the presentation are available here. The presentation was by a SSE Renewables turbine package manager with input from Strathclyde University academics who produced a peer-reviewed research paper on the issue.

At the SWEAG meeting, members were also informed about the peatland restoration developments on Viking Energy Wind Farm and they advised on a series of challenges in the work. SWEAG supported provisional ideas for enhancing red-throated diver habitats in and around the wind farm site.

The agenda of the SWEAG meeting was as follows:




Joe Holden

Introduction of new members: Sue White & Stephen Varwell

Prof. Joseph Holden

Minutes and actions from previous meeting.

Prof. Joseph Holden

Construction progress update & next steps

Stuart Smith.

Planning monitoring officer audit output summary

Jamie Watt

Highlights of Environmental Key Issues in previous 6 months

David McGinty

Presentation of the revised peat restoration programme of works; including open discussion on hydrological functioning of peat restoration areas.

Rory Tallack

Proposed Red-throated Diver habitat improvements.

Dr. Andy Mackenzie


Discussion item raised on the potential for blade deterioration impact on the environment.

Raised by Moraig Lyall/Response via presentation of Strathclyde University, Vestas and SSER review and findings

SWEAG Communications

Prof. Joseph Holden

Close & Provisional Arrangements for June/July Meeting

Prof. Joseph Holden

& Group