RSPB Scotland has provided nearly a decade's worth of expert scientific advice on these offshore wind projects, all to help deliver renewable energy generation while minimising impacts on Scotland's internationally renowned and protected seabirds. However, despite our efforts to help minimise the risks, these four projects were still predicted to have the potential to kill tens of thousands of seabirds over their lifetimes and were granted consent in October 2014.
Having explored all our options carefully, and with great reluctance, we initiated legal challenges against those consents in January 2015 - and we were successful (we blogged about that decision here). However, these judgments were overturned this year on 16th May following appeals by the Scottish Ministers and the developers. We have a number of serious concerns with the Inner House's judgment, and following careful consideration, RSPB Scotland has decided to start the appeal process by applying to the Inner House for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.
On making this application Anne McCall, Director RSPB Scotland, said:
"RSPB Scotland continues to fully support the development of renewable energy and the vast majority of projects continue to pose no significant threat to birds or other wildlife. However, we are concerned that this judgment could set worrying precedents for the protection of wildlife across Scotland and the UK.
"In light of our concerns we have decided to start the appeal process by applying to the Inner House for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court."