Hornsea offshore wind farm decision devastating for iconic seabirds

Katie Phoenix

Tuesday 16 August 2016

The RSPB is deeply concerned that the Secretary of State's decision to approve the Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm will lead to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of globally important seabirds.

The charity believes that a growing offshore wind industry is critical if the UK is to continue to cut its carbon emissions and fight climate change, however, the RSPB opposed the Hornsea Project Two as it poses an unacceptably high risk to seabirds that nest on the Yorkshire coast.

As Europe's largest conservation charity, the RSPB supports the move to generating more electricity through renewable sources and encourages the development of renewable energy projects, but this must be delivered in harmony with nature. This means carefully looking at each site and the potential impact or risks any proposal may have on local or migrating wildlife. Unfortunately, the Government licensed this area for wind farm development without doing the necessary surveys.

Work conducted by the RSPB showed the importance of this area for seabirds; the charity submitted data from satellite-tracked birds to show that the proposed site of Hornsea Project Two would be directly in the flight path of two threatened species of seabirds - gannets and kittiwakes. This wind farm, in combination with other offshore wind farms in the North Sea, pose an unacceptable level of threat to these species as well as potential effects for guillemots, razorbills and puffins. The charity is disappointed that this scientific analysis has not persuaded the Secretary of State to reject this damaging scheme.

Gwyn Williams, Head of Reserves and Protected Areas, said: "Each year, hundreds of thousands of birds flock to the cliffs between Flamborough Head and Filey Cliffs in a mesmerising seabird spectacle. The importance of this site, not just to Yorkshire but to the UK, has been recognised and the site is designated as a Special Protection Area by the Government. Many of the birds that nest there fly out to feed where these wind turbines are being proposed, just over 60 miles away. Combined with the impacts of other offshore wind farms we are deeply concerned about the future of these seabirds.

"We have looked at the plans, and tried to work with the developer, but do not feel the ecological mitigation measures proposed are in any way adequate, and Hornsea Project Two continues to pose an unacceptable risk to nature. We are now even more concerned for the future of the Flamborough to Filey seabirds if the developers of the Hornsea zone bring forward their next two phases."

"Our recent 2050 Energy Vision publication demonstrated that it's possible to have a low-carbon, high-renewable energy future in harmony with the UK's nature. And, as part of that work we have developed maps that illustrate where offshore technologies could be delivered. We are keen to continue to work with the energy companies to help find suitable sites that won't give rise to the potentially disastrous effects Hornsea Project Two may have on nature."

Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018

Tagged with: Country: England Topic: Transport and energy