RSPB Concerned Over UK Government’s Hornsea 2 Decision

The UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has expressed its concern over the Secretary of State’s decision to approve DONG Energy’s Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm, saying that it ”will lead to the unnecessary death of hundreds of globally important seabirds.”

The charity believes that a growing offshore wind industry is critical if the UK is to continue to cut its carbon emissions and fight climate change, however, the RSPB opposed the Hornsea Project Two as ”it poses an unacceptably high risk to seabirds that nest on the Yorkshire coast.”

The RSPB added that the development of renewable energy projects must be delivered in harmony with nature by carefully looking at each site and the potential impact or risks any proposal may have on local or migrating wildlife.

”Unfortunately, the Government licensed this area for wind farm development without doing the necessary surveys,” RSPB said in a statement.

RSPB submitted data from satellite-tracked birds which, according to the charity, show that the proposed site of Hornsea Project Two would be directly in the flight path of two threatened species of seabirds – gannets and kittiwakes.

”This wind farm, in combination with other offshore wind farms in the North Sea, pose an unacceptable level of threat to these species as well as potential effects for guillemots, razorbills and puffins. The charity is disappointed that this scientific analysis has not persuaded the Secretary of State to reject this damaging scheme,” RSPB said.

UK’s Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark granted development consent for the 1.8GW Hornsea Project Two offshore wind farm on 16 August. The Development Consent Order (DCO) was approved at the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate, and covers the entire project including the turbines, foundations, offshore and onshore substations, array cables and export cables.

Located approximately 89km off the Yorkshire coast, the wind farm will comprise up to 300 wind turbines and will connect to the grid at North Killingholme in North Lincolnshire.

“We have looked at the plans, and tried to work with the developer, but do not feel the ecological mitigation measures proposed are in any way adequate, and Hornsea Project Two continues to pose an unacceptable risk to nature,” Gwyn Williams, Head of Reserves and Protected Areas, said.

”We are now even more concerned for the future of the Flamborough to Filey seabirds if the developers of the Hornsea zone bring forward their next two phases. Our recent 2050 Energy Vision publication demonstrated that it’s possible to have a low-carbon, high-renewable energy future in harmony with the UK’s nature. And, as part of that work we have developed maps that illustrate where offshore technologies could be delivered.”