Shetland Charitable Trust told it must wait to invest in wind farm project

Office of Scottish Charity Regulator says the trust's new board of trustees must be in place before it decides

Shetland wind farm investment is on hold
Shetland wind farm investment is on hold

-This story has been corrected; please see final paragraph

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has told a charitable foundation in Shetland that it is not allowed to invest in a local project until its new board has had a chance to decide on whether to do so.

The Shetland Charitable Trust, which has assets of more than £200m, has a board made up almost entirely of Shetland Island councillors, appointed ex officio.

According to a report by the OSCR, the board met on 30 April and decided to invest £6.3m in the Viking Energy wind farm project, which is part-owned by the council and in which the OSCR says the trust has previously invested £3.42m.

The OSCR report says that the local elections that were held on 3 May could lead to the appointment of up to 22 new trustees, and that the board should not make a large-scale investment decision within days of such potentially big changes.

It says it is difficult to see how the trustees are "acting in the best interest of the charity and with appropriate care and diligence".

The OSCR is already monitoring governance at the trust because of "concerns regarding systemic conflicts of interest". A trust proposal earlier this year to replace the existing structure with a board of seven councillors and eight other members is being considered by the regulator.

- The report by the OSCR did not say that the board met on 30 April. It said the board was due to meet on that date to consider the investment in Viking Energy. The trust said today it was told by the OSCR it could not make a binding decision and so did not meet. Apologies for the mistake.

 

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