RSPB takes case against wind farm development to Supreme Court

​The RSPB has applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against a major Scottish wind farm development which it believes would adversely affect seabird colonies.

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Aug 16, 2017
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The development, which includes four major wind farms in the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay was approved by the Scottish Government in 2014. The RSPB launched a judicial review, and initially won a court victory but it was later overturned, clearing the development and prompting the RSPB to seek a further appeal.

Last month Scotland’s Court of Session refused the application for the case to be sent to the Supreme Court, but the RSPB has now applied directly to the UK’s highest court.

“RSPB Scotland has not taken this decision lightly,” says Anne McCall, RSPB Scotland director. “However our concerns with the manner in which Scottish ministers’ took their decisions in 2014 remain undiminished.”

The charity said it recognises the role renewable energy has in reducing emissions but the current project could lead to major declines in the population of gannets, puffins and kittiwakes.

“The issues of the case and the recent inner house judgment extend beyond simply the impacts of these developments on important seabird populations. Therefore due to the implications of this latest decision for many aspects of our work, we felt we had no choice but to apply to the Supreme Court,” says McCall.

“We are hopeful that our application is successful and that we are granted leave to appeal so these important issues of public interest can be considered in detail by the Supreme Court.”

The wind farm projects could generate enough power to supply the equivalent of 1.4 million homes, and is being pursued by the Scottish Government in a bid to secure a sustainable future for Scotland.

“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,” a Scottish Government spokesperson says.

“The Scottish Government is focused on creating a sustainable energy future for Scotland so that Scotland can meet its obligations to fight climate change, thereby tackling a key threat to marine ecosystems.”

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Jade Taylor-Salazar

Supplements editor , Engineering and Technology

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