Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “RSPB Scotland is extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision to refuse permission to appeal the recent Inner House, Court of Session Opinion.
“We have worked on the Firth of Forth and Tay projects for nearly a decade to try and ensure that they progress without causing unacceptable harm to our internationally important seabird colonies. Despite our efforts, these projects were granted consent by Scottish Ministers in 2014. The Minister’s own assessments spelt out huge risks to seabird populations, including to puffins, gannets and kittiwakes which nest on our coasts and feed in the shallow waters in and around these projects. If these consents and their predicted impacts are realised, there is little doubt these would be amongst the most damaging offshore windfarms for seabirds in the world. In addition to these enormous risks to wildlife, we had major concerns with the assessment methods and the approach taken by Scottish Ministers. Due to these concerns RSPB Scotland felt there was no other option but to judicially review the Ministers’ decisions.
“In light of this refusal for permission to appeal we will be taking some time to consider all other options remaining to us. However, we are extremely disappointed with this decision, following nearly a decade’s worth of effort from RSPB Scotland to help deliver offshore wind in Scotland in a manner that respects one of the country’s most impressive and internationally renowned natural assets - its fantastic seabird colonies. And, perhaps most worryingly, it could also set an extremely dangerous precedent for decision-making on future development, whereby Scottish Ministers no longer need to take heed of their own expert nature conservation advisors (Scottish Natural Heritage), nor the concerns of the public or indeed consider the implications of development on areas known to be of international importance to wildlife.
“RSPB Scotland will continue to work constructively with the developers and the Scottish Government to try to ensure that the major impacts of these projects or any updated projects for these sites on seabirds are mitigated as much as possible. We will also continue to seek solutions to tackle the effects of climate change – one of the greatest threats to our natural environment and wildlife – that do not cause additional damage to some of those very things we are seeking to protect.
“Scottish Ministers have made many welcome statements about the value they place on being seen to safeguard Scotland’s environment. We would call on Scottish Ministers to put those words into action and ensure that improvements are made to Scotland’s planning and consenting processes to ensure that such damaging consents cannot be issued in future.”
Last Updated: Tuesday 7 November 2017