Sustainable Shetland is a community group that supports social, environmental and economic sustainability in Shetland.

Financial appeal for Judicial Review of Viking Windfarm in Shetland Our organisation

Sustainable Shetland is a campaign group formed in March 2008 in response to a proposal for a large scale wind farm in Shetland. We believe such large industrial projects are damaging to our environment. We want to support social, environmental and economic sustainability in Shetland. We want to see sustainable renewable energy projects in the islands which are fit for scale and fit for purpose, and provide real community benefit. 
The population of the Shetland Islands is 23,000. At the moment Sustainable Shetland has about 850 members. We believe:

  • That the integrity of Shetlands environment, landscape, archaeology and society are important, and should not be treated as mere commodities.
  • That man-made pollution and man-made climate change pose serious risks to ourselves and the environment.
  • That Shetland should promote and support efforts at reducing energy consumption, and support economic and environmental sustainability.

Sustainable Shetland has no paid employees. All our activities are undertaken by volunteers and paid for through fundraising activities and donations. It is not limited by guarantee so the financial risks are borne by individual members.

Our project: The Story so far....

On 4th April 2012 the Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing granted consent for the 103 turbine Viking Windfarm on the Mainland of Shetland. Sustainable Shetland petitioned the Court of Session in Edinburgh to judicially review this decision. Originally scheduled for 4 days in January 2013, The Judicial Review instead took place over 14 days, and the Judge, Lady Clark of Calton, finally found in favour of Sustainable Shetland on two counts:

  1. Ministers were incompetent in granting consent for the Viking windfarm since Viking Energy partnership did not have a licence to generate electricity
  2. Ministers did not properly take account of their obligations under the EU Wild Birds Directive, specifically in relation to Whimbrel – a migratory wading bird of which 95% of the UK breeding population is in Shetland, and concentrated on the windfarm site.

The full judgement of Lady Clark of Calton can be read here:

This is the first successful Judicial Review challenge to a windfarm decision in Scotland. It is a landmark decision for communities around the UK who believe they and their environment have been sacrificed for the benefit of Government policy and big business.Scottish Ministers are appealing this decision on both counts. The Appeal is to be held at the end of February 2014, in the Inner House of the Court of Session, Edinburgh, with three days allocated to the competency issue, and three to the Wild Birds Directive. Due to the cost of legal action, Sustainable Shetland is opposing the appeal in relation to the Wild Birds Directive only.

 Our project: Access to justice

We have made a submission to the Aarhus Convention regarding access to justice, and the severe financial difficulties NGOs and individuals face when undertaking a Judicial Review process, based on our own experience. Our submission can be read here

To date the Judicial Review has cost Sustainable Shetland nearly £100,000. The appeal is estimated to cost further tens of thousands. Sustainable Shetland has been granted a Protective Expenses Order which means that if Lady Clark’s judgement is upheld, Scottish Ministers will be liable for up to £105,000 of Sustainable Shetland’s costs. If the judgement is overturned, Sustainable Shetland will have to pay £5,000 towards Scottish Ministers’ costs in addition to our own.

Sustainable Shetland continues to fundraise and members have donated generously of their time and money, but we need to widen our campaign to meet the projected costs of the Appeal Process. We would like to raise £20,000 by 14th March 2014 and we need your help!

Please give generouslySmile

We would like to thank Carol Jamieson and Jonathan Bulter for volunteering their time and expertise to make our film. 

We also thank Allen Fraser, Richard Rowland, Debbie Scott, Carol Jamieson, Paul Bloomer and Lea Gardens for generously donating some lovely crowdfunder rewards.