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Shetland windfarm - Viking Energy


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Derek Flynn is THE Crofting Law Specialist, paid for by VE/SSE to provide advice to crofters during and after the series of ongoing meetings.

 

The decisions as to whether to lease the land is a matter for the landlords of the appropriate areas. If they decide to sign leases, then that's it.

 

If it is croft land, the landlords will have to apply to have it resumed from crofting tenure, and the crofter will be entitled to compensation for the value of the land which has been taken. The Crofters (Scotland) Act 1955 states that the landlord must establish "reasonable purpose". This may be

1)to the good of the croft

2)to the good of the estate

3)The public interest

Financial benefit on its own is not considered sufficient purpose, so presumably it will be argued that this windfarm is in the public interest?

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The Kames is hardly an area of natural beauty - in fact wind turbines may give the tourists/general public something to look at for a change......

 

Right, that's it, i've passed by similar comments a few times now and can't any more. Anyone considering the Kames in this way is i fear suffering either from Toonivision or Car-taracts. :P

 

A quick list of what you are not seeing.

 

Sand Water, important trout, sea trout and salmon run, at risk of run off pollution

Petta Water, head of same water course, at risk from both sides and feeding Sandwater.

Hills above Nesting, Featured in BBC Springwatch Merlin Nest site, one of 14, almost guaranteed disruption or displacement. Protected species.

Various lochs above nesting, similarly at risk of run off and important breed sites for diving birds.

Village of Voe, surounded, noise pollution and asthetic disruption.

Lochs around Voe, run-off.

Lunna area also featured by BBC to be given vista of industrial landscape of roads and turbines.

Views from Eswick, Skellister, bixter, Waas, Eid etc etc disrupted.

Lunklet burn areas popular with day-trippers ,once again disrupted.

Lunklet burn head waters and surrounding lochs, at risk of run-off and disruption, important for indigenous trout and bird species.

Weisdale hill and Kergord valleys, popular scenic areas. Overshadowed, once again. Burn through kergord, once again fragile and at risk.

All relevant pristine peat moorland areas known for Grouse habitat, other moorland birds (eg Skylarks, Snipe, Woodcock, Wheatear) and Arctic hares and currently utilised by local wildlife guides for tourism.

And i have deliberately not mentioned the roads themselves, elsewhere created by the scheme.

Same as above on all counts for hills and lochs toward Sullom Voe.

 

Referring back to a comment by Auld Rasmie in a previous post, he is not in a minority of one in his enjoyment of the hills involved, there's two of us. :wink:

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^^ 3 of us.

 

not a lot beats walking up the burn of Lunklet wand in hand on a nice fishing day, It is one of the few places left in Shetland that isn't disturbed by the noise of a car ever now and again, one fo the few places left up here that you truely can escape everything to do with the modern world. ( appart formt he cloths your in.. but im sure if you are brave enough you could escape them too :P

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There was also plans afoot to place one in Yell, although certain parties involved in VE rubbished the idea in that the most suitable site in Yell would be probably unsuitable on the grounds that it would be in the flightpath for Scatsta, which is clearly absurd, in comparison to Sumburgh Airport and Sumburgh Head.

 

Is this not more likely to be a radar interference issue rather than a direct obstacle though?

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4 of us!! Its a wilderness that much is trooo.

 

Don't forget that both Sandwater and the Burn of Lunklet are Special Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI)

 

Sandwater (From SNH...apart the bit about wading - "A relatively shallow loch (it certainly is - you can wade accross it!), which though surrounded by dwarf shrub and acid moorland is mesotrophic with a neutral PH because of the strong influence of an underlying band of crystalline limestone. The loch is noted for its breeding waterfowl and contains extensive beds of Common Bulrush Schoenoplectus lacustris which has a limited distribution in Shetland.

 

Hmmm , water dependent SSSI with neutral PH on limestone

windfarms - runoff, peat, acid .....interesting.

 

The Burn of Lunklet is a SSSI due to plant species.....turbines should be ok, unless that grow legs and begin to walk....tripod turbines?

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Right, that's it, i've passed by similar comments a few times now and can't any more. Anyone considering the Kames in this way is i fear suffering either from Toonivision or Car-taracts. :P

 

.....

 

All those points have been noted, Njugle. You've obviously been holding that back for some time, feeling better now? :wink:

 

Those are genuine concerns and unlike some others who are "clutching at straws", these need to be seriously investigated. Let's see what the EIA says, hopefully that will give us a clearer indication whether these areas will be affected as suggested. Also, let's wait and see what the new revised plan looks like.

 

If your fears are supported by the EIA then this project will need to be looked at in a different light. However, to make such judgements before we actually have the necessary information would be premature to say the least.

 

^^ 3 of us. not a lot beats walking up the burn of Lunklet wand in hand on a nice fishing day, It is one of the few places left in Shetland that isn't disturbed by the noise of a car ever now and again, one fo the few places left up here that you truely can escape everything to do with the modern world. ( appart formt he cloths your in.. but im sure if you are brave enough you could escape them too :P

 

The Burn of Lunklet is an excellent walk. But I have to admit that I'm not in the trooty brigade and have never wandered the hills of Da Kames as such. Many other places foreby but never Da Kames. I suspect the vast majority of Shetlanders would be in the same category, rightly or wrongly!

 

HERE,HERE,

 

Well said NJUGLE

 

These people don't deserve Shetland!

 

And what, pray tell, did we do to deserve you, PJ? :wink:

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Derek Flynn is THE Crofting Law Specialist, paid for by VE/SSE to provide advice to crofters during and after the series of ongoing meetings.

 

The decisions as to whether to lease the land is a matter for the landlords of the appropriate areas. If they decide to sign leases, then that's it.

 

If it is croft land, the landlords will have to apply to have it resumed from crofting tenure, and the crofter will be entitled to compensation for the value of the land which has been taken. The Crofters (Scotland) Act 1955 states that the landlord must establish "reasonable purpose". This may be

1)to the good of the croft

2)to the good of the estate

3)The public interest

Financial benefit on its own is not considered sufficient purpose, so presumably it will be argued that this windfarm is in the public interest?

 

Correct, in the case of a bona fide physically definable croft, in theory at least. Not quite so simple in the case of Common Grazings in which a number of different crofts only "own" the right to grazings, and I would think most, if not all of the land currently up for consideration is within Common Grazings.

 

I'm no lawyer, so I won't even pretend to know exactly what affected crofters can expect to receive, but at best it will only be the value of the lost grazing, not the value of the land itself, two slightly different things. The value of hill grazings in the current agricultural climate is minimal, so I wouldn't expect any crofter to be getting a cheque he can retire on, when he eventually gets it that is. As has been proven in the past, if an occupying party of a portion of Common Grazings will only pay up reluctantly, there are a whole catalogue of tactics open to them to stall actually having to part with a penny unless the Grazings Committee(s) involved engage in an expensive and lengthy legal pursuit of their rights.

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And what, pray tell, did we do to deserve you, PJ? :wink:

I realise that this is a tongue-in-cheek, good natured jibe but, in the interests of maintaining an objective and productive debate, we should strive to avoid these kind of personal comments. Thanks ;)

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I'm no lawyer, so I won't even pretend to know exactly what affected crofters can expect to receive, but at best it will only be the value of the lost grazing, not the value of the land itself, two slightly different things. The value of hill grazings in the current agricultural climate is minimal, so I wouldn't expect any crofter to be getting a cheque he can retire on, when he eventually gets it that is.

 

IANAL either, but are you sure it is the value of the grazing and not the development value? (I thought it was the land value after the development, but I might be wrong) Anybody met Mr Flynn?

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I'm no lawyer, so I won't even pretend to know exactly what affected crofters can expect to receive, but at best it will only be the value of the lost grazing, not the value of the land itself, two slightly different things. The value of hill grazings in the current agricultural climate is minimal, so I wouldn't expect any crofter to be getting a cheque he can retire on, when he eventually gets it that is.

 

IANAL either, but are you sure it is the value of the grazing and not the development value? (I thought it was the land value after the development, but I might be wrong) Anybody met Mr Flynn?

 

Unless there have been sweeping changes in the law in the last few years, as regards Common Grazings, a crofter only rents or "owns" the right to graze within the defined boundaries of the Common Grazings, in the same way as most crofters rent or "own" the right to a peat bank, boat noust, collect seaweed, sand, shingle for croft use, etc. As I was told it not too many years ago (more or less direct from a lawyers letter), the crofter could only claim compensation for what they were actually losing, and in the case of Common Grazings, what caused them to lose part of it, or what it's value was, was irrelevant, it was only the value of what they were being denied that counted. In the case of in-bye croft land, I think you're right in saying the value of the development would have a direct bearing on the level of compensation payable, that's different though as a crofter either rents or owns his in-bye land, in only a very small number of exceptional cases does a crofter actually rent or own his Common Grazings share, rather he rents or owns the right to let his stock graze within the defined boundaries of the Common Grazing, ie. his right is to whatever grows within that defined area, the land it grows upon remains the property of the original landlord.

 

I daresay though the value of the development matters greatly when the the sale or lease price is being negotiated between the existing owner and proposed purchaser/lessee, but my understanding of the law, as it stood at least, is that that is/was a private business deal and didn't influence the level of compensation to those (the crofters) who hold grazings rights on the same site.

 

That was purely the interpretation of the relevant law by only one lawyer though, albeit one who came highly recommended concerning Croft law, so take as you find, and there may have been changes in Crofting law since, there's been talk of such off and on, but I've not been keeping up with well enough to know what areas it covered.

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Cheers for that Ghostrider, I guess it just further illustrates the complexities of crofting law! Back to the windfarm, if it is the landowners who stand to benefit the most, and if there is very little in it for the crofters, (most will agree that a grazing share has a negative value at present!) there is likely to be resentment and resistance.... not good for VE public relations.

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Another "not a lawyer", but anyhow...

 

When a house site is sold by a land owner on a rented croft, the crofter gets 50% of the sale value of the land. I'm not sure how guaranteed that is, or what it's limits are, but that is the standard procedure.

 

For a while the legal status of hill apportionments was unclear - if you bought the croft, did you actually own the apportionment or not? I understand that the legal weight has now swung behind the "yes you own it" side.

 

These 2 factors together would suggest that selling hill ground would mean the crofters holding shares in that piece of hill getting fairly high percentages of the sale price. But of course, there may be more to it... or some convenient loopholes.....

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When you obtain an apportionment, you still have to purchase the solum from the landowner, if you catually want to have outright ownership.

 

As far as I can tell they cannot stop you buying it.

 

If I were a crofter with a share in one of the gold rush mountains up North, I would be applying for an apportionment all along the top of the scattald! and would be buying the solum from the landlord too!

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