The area is exceedingly important for a number of iconic species of conservation concern. The proposed windfarm site lies next to the extensive Hoy Special Protection Area (SPA), Hoy Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Hoy Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI). The first two designations recognise the international importance of the site for breeding birdlife and habitat respectively while the latter recognises the amazing geology as well as importance of the wildlife and habitats it hosts at a national level. Scapa Flow proposed Special Protection Area (pSPA) is also less than 2km away from the site. These protected sites reflect the unique and valuable wildlife that is present on Hoy.
The developer’s own assessment indicates that over a 25-year period there is a predicted loss of nine white tailed eagles, six hen harriers, 179 great skua and seven red-throated divers through collision. These numbers are concerning, especially when factored into the SPA species population modelling and when construction, cumulative and barrier impacts are also considered. In addition, there are predicted impacts from disturbance and displacement to these species as well as Arctic skua, curlew, and golden eagle. Hen harrier, Arctic skua and curlew are species on the red list of conservation concern while great skua are on the amber list. Arctic Skua, great skua and red-throated diver are also qualifying species of the Hoy SPA.
White-tailed eagle is also a nationally scare red list species. They only returned to Hoy in 2018 after a complete absence for 95 years. There is currently only one breeding pair this island, and although they nest some 5km from the application site it is within their territorial range. The predicted collision rate suggests a significant impact on this small local population.