In May 2014 Navitus Bay Development Limited (NBDL), the company established by Eneco and EDF to develop the wind park, submitted their project for consent, together with supporting information including an Environmental Statement (ES), which details the implications of building, operating, maintaining and ultimately decommissioning the wind farm on all important environmental features including wildlife. The project is currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate and Public Hearings are underway.
It is highly unlikely that Navitus Bay if constructed would not harm some birds, much in the same way every year many birds die in collision with windows, pylons and many other man-made objects. However, birds dying in collision with objects, whilst regrettable, does not necessarily lead to negative effects on bird populations.
So, the key question for us is whether this development will cause such additional and regular mortality that it will lead to long-term declines.
We have now completed our analysis of the ES and further information presented by NBDL, and have submitted our responses to the Planning Inspectorate (versions of which you can download from this page).
On the basis of the ornithological information submitted, it is unlikely that the offshore elements of the wind park will have significant adverse impacts on bird populations. However, the RSPB requires more work to be done on gannet populations before it is completely satisfied with the project.
In terms of other wildlife, the RSPB does have some outstanding concerns over the effect of the project on Atlantic salmon, but we defer to Natural England and the Environment Agency's expertise on this matter. It is important to bear in mind that our position is based on our interpretation of the ES, which in turn is based on our experience of dealing with similar planning cases. But ultimately a judgment must be made on the significance of potential impacts. Others may judge the matter differently – and we respect that.
Ultimately, it is the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State that will weigh the evidence and make a decision on the construction of this Wind Park.
NBDL has submitted details of a 'Mitigation Option' to the Public Hearings. The status of this option is still under review by the Planning Inspectorate. The option proposes a maximum of 105 turbines in the southern section of the offshore development area.