In Partnership with the Shetland Isles
Fewer formal meetings are now required and the local community prefer to use an informal approach to talk to us, raise any areas of concern and we listen.
We also made regular visits to those who live closest to the site of the planned gas plant, taking account of their views and in many cases changing designs to accommodate their wishes. For example, the local community was involved in plans to install a temporary accommodation facility and consulted on both its location and design. We have also met regularly with Shetland Islands Council, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Scottish National Heritage amongst others to ensure we act in the best interests of the Shetland Islands. Regular communication takes place through a website and newsletter, ‘Frontier News’, designed specifically for the islands.
We are also working closely with local schools and some have already been invited to tour the planned gas plant site. The Junior Road Safety Officers from Voe, Brae and Mossbank primary schools were taken on a tour and shown what we are doing to promote safety.
A key part of our strategy was also taking time and committing resource to thoroughly consider the sensitivities of the natural environment in the Shetland Islands. Together with the local community and statutory authorities, it was agreed to take the innovative step of preserving the peat that covers the planned gas plant.
INNOVATING PIONEERING INVOLVING PROTECTING
The peat story, as it is now known, involved lifting approximately 700,000 square meters of live peat up to five meters deep, and storing it in two specially constructed stores, the largest one of which contains the equivalent of 180 Olympic size swimming pools. The peat will then be reinstated at the end of the plant’s working life.
In addition to the peat story, the Shetland Islands have a number of important archaeological sites. When a previously unknown Neolithic site was discovered in the construction area, TEP UK worked closely with specialist archaeologists to make sure that the find was properly excavated and recorded. This study took six weeks during which time construction work around the area was halted.
A building was uncovered which has been dated at some 4-5,000 years old and each stone on the site was photographed and its position precisely mapped so that the find can be re-built for permanent preservation. Many of the stones were taken to laboratories for further study and the site has already provided valuable information on how prehistoric dwellings were constructed and used.
Thinking about all our Neighbours
We also recognise the sensitivity of the wildlife and TEP UK’s environmental team work closely with the Shetland Islands Council and other statutory and voluntary organisations to identify and alleviate any concerns. As a result of these consultations, work patterns have been altered to minimise the affect the operations will have on the habitat and environment. This includes a closed season for pipeline construction in inshore waters from June to August to protect seal pupping and moulting and a 30 meter exclusion zone around each birds nest in place. The company also sponsored the Shetland Environmental Awards.