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Scottish judges reverses block ruling on four offshore windfarms

EBR Staff Writer Published 17 May 2017

Three Scottish appeals court judges at the Court of Session have overturned a ruling delivered last year that would have stopped work on four offshore windfarms totaling 2.3GW.

The Court of Session ruled in favour of Mainstream's 450MW Neart na Gaoithe, Red Rock's 784MW Inch Cape and SSE/Fluor’s 1050MW Seagreen Alpha and Bravo.

RSPB Scotland opposed Firth of Forth and Tay offshore wind projects, saying that they will harm the lives of Scotland’s seabird colonies.

In January 2015, RSPB Scotland has filed a petition against the projects, which was supported by the Outer House of the Court of Session.

Scottish Ministers appealed against the Outer House’s decision, as the projects hold potential to generate huge amount of clean electricity.

Favoring Scottish Ministers, the Inner House has dismissed the petition of RSPB Scotland, which could hamper the development of offshore wind projects.

According to RSPB Scotland, the projects are still predicted to have the potential to kill tens of thousands of seabirds over their lifetimes when they were consented in October 2014. 

RSPB Scotland director Stuart Housden said: RSPB Scotland is, of course, hugely disappointed by today's Inner House judgment. 

“Whilst we fully support deployment of renewable energy, this must not be at any cost. Combined, these four huge projects threaten to kill thousands of Scotland's internationally protected seabirds every year, including thousands of puffins, gannets and kittiwakes.”

“These could be amongst the most deadly windfarms for birds anywhere in the world.  It was with great reluctance and as a last resort, but in these circumstances, it was clear that RSPB Scotland had to make a stand.”