In 2014, four commercial scale offshore wind farms were granted consent in the Forth and Tay region – Neart na Gaoithe (450MW), Inch Cape (784MW), Seagreen Alpha and Bravo (1,050MW), which amounted to a maximum of 335 offshore turbines.
Unfortunately, in our view the consents represented too great a risk to many thousands of Scotland’s seabirds. The assessments estimated over a thousand gannets and hundreds of kittiwake, could be killed each year during the summer months alone and many hundreds of puffin could die as a result of losing important feeding areas. Countless other birds also pass through the area on migration, and these developments will undoubtedly impact them.
RSPB Scotland legally challenged the decisions by Scottish Minister to grant these consents. The cases were heard in the Court of Session, Edinburgh in 2015 at the Outer House in which RSPB were successful, however this ruling was overturned on appeal by the Sottish Ministers in the Inner House. The legal challenge concluded in November 2017.
The 2014 consents are all live, however time has passed and the offshore wind technology has improved. Each of the three developers are therefore now progressing new applications to replace their existing consents and which would enable deployment of larger yet fewer offshore turbines. Applications for these new designs are expected for public consultation throughout the summer of 2018.