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Judge questions Viking go-ahead

Plans for the 103-turbine Viking wind farm on Scotland’s Shetland suffered a legal rebuff when a judge ruled that the government failed to take account of nature legislation when giving it the go-ahead.

In a lengthy judgement, Lady Clark of Calton said she was not satisfied that Scottish government officials had “complied with their obligations under the Wild Birds Directive 2009”.

Lady Clark delivered the judgement at the Court of Session in Edinburgh following a judicial review brought by pressure group Sustainable Shetland, which wants the Viking development stopped.

The implications of the judgement are still unclear for the project, which has been a source of controversy since 2009, when it started as a 540MW,150-machine proposal.

A spokesman for developer Viking Energy said: “We need to consider today’s 130-page judgment carefully and obviously we await the reaction of the Scottish Government, since they are the main party to it.

“We will continue taking appropriate steps on this project to maintain our positive momentum and we remain committed to what we believe is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring the many economic and environmental benefits of a renewable energy industry to Shetland.

“Indeed, both the UK and Scottish Governments have recently demonstrated that they are keen to make the Viking Wind Farm happen with their proposed financial uplift to support Scottish island projects. We will comment further in due course.”

Viking Energy is 50% owned by utility SSE.

A spokesman for the Scottish government said: "Scottish Ministers note Lady Clark’s judgement and will now consider it and its implications.”

Sustainable Shetland could not be reached for comment immediately after the judgement was published.

Note: Update adds comments from Viking Energy, Scottish government