Former Scottish Energy minister declares Scots offshore wind industry ‘pretty much dead’ after RSPB win legal appeal

Bass Rock
Bass Rock – a haven for bird life in the Forth estuary

Former Labour MP and Scottish Energy Minister Brian Wilson has declared the offshore wind industry in Scotland ‘pretty much dead’ after a legal appeal against four major developments was upheld at the Court of Session yesterday.

RSPB Scotland raised the judicial review action against the Scottish Government for failing to fully consider the potentially adverse impact of the projects on bird life.

The Inch Cape project off the Angus coast was a proposal for up to 110 turbines: Neart na Gaoithe east of Fife Ness was up to 75 turbines, and the Seagreen Alpha and Bravo projects off the Angus coast were for up to 150 turbines.

The four projects together would have provided 2.2-GW of power, enough to power 1.4 million homes each year.

In granting the planning consent in 2014, the Scottish Government did so under strict conditions to mitigate any environmental impact, though RSPB Scotland raised concerns about the proximity of seabird colonies.

Judge Lord Stewart also ruled that Scottish Ministers will now have to reconsider the planning applications which will have to address the legal points raised by RSPB Scotland

Wilson commented: “On the face of it, offshore wind in Scotland is pretty much dead. The RSPB now hold all the cards.

“They were forced into this comprehensive action because the Scottish government delayed consent and then clustered these four wind farms together, so the RSPB went to court on the basis of cumulative impact.

“What they have to decide is if they want to kill all four schemes or prepare to take a more balanced view, but the ball is in the RSPB’s court without a doubt.

Meanwhile, earnings at Iberdrola’s Scottish Power Renewables Glasgow-based subsidiary slumped by more than a third (34.4%) to £116.6 million in the first half of the year – ‘primarily driven by reduced wind output’

See also:

Court decision to protect birds knocks out planning permission for SSE, Inch Cape, Seagreen and Mainstream offshore Scottish wind farms

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