RSPB vs Offshore Wind: Scottish Court Rules In Favour of RSPB

Scottish Court of Session has ruled in favour of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in a legal challenge against four offshore wind projects in the Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay, which received consents from the Scottish ministers in 2014. 

After a judicial review of the Scottish Ministers’ approval, the court ordered that the Scottish ministers will have to reconsider the decisions to approve the four wind farms – Inch Cape, Seagreen Alpha, Seagreen Bravo and Neart na Gaoithe – and address concerns raised by the RSPB, which led them to the courtroom in the first place.

RSPB argued that the four projects, totalling 2.284GW of capacity, could have serious implications for the wildlife in the area, with thousands of gannets, puffins, kittiwakes and other seabirds predicted to be killed every year, and decided to bring the case to the court in January 2015.

Following the court’s ruling, Lloyd Austin, Head of Conservation Policy at RSPB Scotland, said: “Today’s judgments are complex and we will therefore need some time to fully consider their implications, however, RSPB Scotland is encouraged by the decisions of the Court, which have recognised the huge risks from these four offshore windfarms on Scotland’s internationally important areas for seabirds.

“This case demonstrates the critical importance of clear and effective environmental regulation that is properly implemented, as well as the importance of access to justice for NGOs and citizens to be able to ask the courts to scrutinise public decisions. RSPB Scotland is now keen to work with all parties to ensure we focus efforts on delivering much needed renewable energy in a way that does not threaten Scotland’s internationally important wildlife.

“RSPB Scotland will continue to robustly resist any projects which threaten Scotland’s best places for wildlife. However, we also remain resolutely supportive of the development of renewable energy sources in Scotland.”