Thursday, 27 October 2016



THE RSPB  was fiercely opposed to the plan by Danish company Dong Energy to build a 300-turbine windfarm off the Yorkshire Coast -  known as Hornsea Project 2.

After the Government gave the green light  to the scheme, the society  indicated that it might launch a legal appeal - but it has now decided not to pursue this option.

Says a spokesperson for the charity: " We objected to both Hornsea Project 1 and Project 2, and we appeared at the inquiry and gave evidence to both.  

"However, Natural England removed its objection to Hornsea 2, saying that they believed there would not be a significant impact on birds.

"The Secretary of State is entitled to take the advice of Natural England as the Government’s statutory nature watchdog, and there are several court judgments which highlight this.

"This made RSPB’s position even more difficult. If NE had continued to object then it might have changed the prospects of a legal challenge (subject to a very careful scrutiny of NE’s position and the way that was addressed in the judgment).

"However, once NE dropped their objection we were (regrettably) pretty certain that our case was not going to prevail with the decision-makers.

The spokesperson continued: "It is not the costs that deter us from a legal challenge.

"We have to be sure of our case that a flawed decision was made, and there is something to legally challenge.  We cannot challenge a decision simply because we did not like the outcome.

"The calculations of impacts were incredibly complex with different models and values giving very different results.

"We had concerns over gannet and kittiwake collision and the model predicted 1.1 and 1.4 per cent difference in population over 25 years.

"These differences are not necessarily losses.  If a population is increasing it could mean that the population increase would be 1.1 per cent less than it would have been without a windfarm.  But others used less precautionary figures and calculated negligible impacts.

"We were also concerned about displacement of the three auks (guillemot, razorbill and puffin).  But these calculations are even more nebulous.  

Guillemot - displacement risk for this and other auk species
"This is because we don’t know what area around the windfarm is likely to be affected (e.g. is it 1km around, or 2km, or 4km).

"Then we don’t know what proportion of each auk population will be displaced from the actual windfarm and the buffer zone around it.  Finally we don’t know what proportion of the population might die because it has been displaced.

"If 100 per cent of auks are displaced but they all survive, there will be no impact, but if only 10 per cent are displaced, and 50 per cent of the displaced birds die, that could be a significant impact."

* The proposed windfarm is also likely to effect  other marine life, including whales, porpoises and seals - most notably during the construction phase when piling work will be extremely noisy. However, as with birds, the extent of the potential impact is unclear  

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