RSPB chief defends right to protect birds by taking appeal against Scot-Govt. approval for £2bn offshore wind parc to British Supreme Court

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has hit back at reports claiming the charity was being ‘un-democratic’ by exercising its legal right to take its appeal case against planning permission for an offshore wind farm to the UK Supreme Court.**

Anne McCall, Director, RSPB Scotland, said there is “no doubt” that damage to seabird populations from the planned 450MW Neart na Gaoithe, 600MW Inch Cape and 1050MW Seagreen offshore windpower farms would be “extremely significant”.

She said: “This risk of harm to birds, and thus our charitable objects, is one which the RSPB must challenge.

“We have major concerns with how bird death figures were calculated and the decision by Scot-Govt Ministers to approve the three wind farms.

“RSPB Scotland’s decision to challenge the Scottish ministers’ approval of four wind farms in the offshore Tay and Forth estuaries aims to strengthen democratic accountability and clearly fulfils our charitable objects.

“Suggestions that our actions are undemocratic are wide of the mark. Charities like us exist to deliver public benefit, such as protecting wildlife, and have a duty to challenge public bodies’ decisions which threaten to make those charitable objects significantly more difficult to achieve.”

** This case (RSPB v Scot-Govt Ministers ex parte Mainstream Renewables) will still be live

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A Scot-govt. spokesman commented: “We note the RSPB’s decision, which comes after the Court of Session in Edinburgh ruled, decisively, in favour of Scottish Ministers and subsequently dismissed the RSPB’s application for permission to appeal to the UK Supreme Court.

Yesterday 29 companies in the renewable energy supply chain linked up to publicly call for the RSPB to abandon its Supreme Court appeal.

The Scot-govt – which first approved the Mainstream and SSE planning applications for these wind farms – also approved their application to instal turbines even larger than those originally applied for before the RSPB had confirmed it would take its appeal against Scot-Ministers to London.

One senior official familiar with the Scottish planning system said: The Scot-Govt jumped the gun by agreeing to Mainstream’s plea to install bigger-than-planned wind turbines before they knew if the RSPB would appeal. Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse must have thought he kent better – but he’s been left with egg splattered all over his face.”

Anne McCall, Director, RSPB Scotland
Anne McCall, Director, RSPB Scotland


Charity’s feisty first female chief who’s already trumped Trump

Anne McCall became the first female leader in the organisation when she was appointed Director of RSPB in May 2017.

She joined the RSPB in 1998 as a member of the society’s planning team, working on cases like the Lingerbay superquarry, the Lewis windfarm and the inquiry into the Trump golf course in Aberdeenshire.

McCall studied politics, history and law at Edinburgh University before completing a post-graduate course in town planning at Heriot-Watt University. She is an accredited member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and served as Convenor of the RTPI in 2004.

On her appointment she said: I aim to work with other organisations and individuals from across all sectors, through collaboration and partnership, with the ambition of reversing the current downward trajectory for so many of our species and habitats.”

18 Aug 2017

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