Irish developer set to begin construction work on £2bn Scottish offshore wind farm after RSPB loses court appeal

Location of Mainstream's offshore wind farm
Location of Mainstream’s offshore wind farm

Scotland’s highest court has refused permission for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to take its appeal against planning permission for a £2 billion offshore wind farm to the Supreme Court in London.

Last month the Outer House of the Court of Session in Edinburgh upheld the appeal by the RSPB against the plan by Irish developer Mainstream.

But the Scot-Govt – which first approved the plan – last month successfully appealed that decision to three judges of the Inner House of the Court of Session.

RSPB Scotland subsequently decided to start a further appeal process by applying to the Inner House for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

It is this application – for appeal to the Supreme Court – which has been rejected by the Court of Session, meaning Mainstream can now proceed with its 450-MW Neart na Gaoithe development off the east coast of Fife.

Last night, Anne McCall, Director, RSPB Scotland said: “While disappointed by this Court of Session decision, it is not wholly unexpected.

“We will now take time to consider the details and determine our next steps.

“The existing consents, if implemented, could have a significant impact on Scotland’s breeding seabirds but we are hopeful that by continuing to work with all the developers we will be able to reduce those impacts.

“The issues under consideration by the Court go beyond simply the impacts of multiple developments on important seabird populations and explore wider issues, we therefore must consider the implications of the decision for all aspects of the case.”

The RSPB has 28 days in which to lodge an appeal against the refusal to permit it to lodge a final appeal in the Supreme Court.

Andy Kinsella, Chief Operating Office at Mainstream, said that advances in offshore wind technology have allowed the company to cut the number of turbines for the planned offshore wind farm to no more than 64, as compared to 125 in the original application from 2012. “

He added: “We are delighted with the <court> decision and look forward to working constructively with the RSPB to take the wind farm into construction next year.”

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