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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Charities split over Forth and Tay windfarm plans

This news post is almost 8 years old
 

Third sector organisations are split over plans for four massive windfarm developments along the east coast of Scotland.

Environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth Scotland, have backed the proposals but conservation charities RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Seabird Centre have voiced concerns the impact the windfarms will have on seabird colonies.

The planned developments, which will be built on the Forth and Tay regions, have been granted permission under strict environmental grounds and are estimated to produce carbon savings of 135m tonnes of CO2 over their lifespans.

However, RSPB Scotland said the developments threaten Scotland's internationally important marine wildlife and in particular large colonies of gannets, kittiwakes, puffins and razorbills that breed along the coast and forage for food in the surrounding seas.

Nowhere in Europe have offshore wind schemes been proposed in such close proximity to seabird colonies of this size, said the charity.

Stuart Housdon, chief executive of RSPB Scotland, said: “If the models and assessments of potential damage prove accurate, these windfarms would be among the most deadly for birds anywhere in the world.

If the models and assessments of potential damage prove accurate, these windfarms would be among the most deadly for birds anywhere in the world - Stuart Housdon

“We want to see the development of offshore wind in Scotland but it must not be at such massive cost to our internationally important seabirds.

“We will be considering carefully what further steps we can take in the coming days to ensure these decisions are fully compliant with the requirements of EU conservation directives.”

The Neart na Gaoith wind farm east of the Fife Ness coastline will have up to 75 turbines while the Alpha, Bravo Seagreen and Inch Cape developments combined will consist of up to 260 turbines and will be located off the Angus coastline.

Tom Brock, chief executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said there needed to be a balance struck between the needs of renewable energy production and marine wildlife.

“When these windfarms are constructed, it must be done in a way which achieves maximum mitigation of the effect on Scotland's precious seabirds such as puffins and gannets as well as other marine wildlife,” he said.

“Scotland's wildlife is special and we must look after it for future generations. In addition, wildlife tourism is now crucial to the tourism industry locally and nationally.”

But Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon said the approval for the developments was a "big step forward" for Scottish renewable energy.

He said: "Just these four developments could supply two-thirds of Scotland's electricity needs with clean, green energy on windy days.

"These scheme represent as much capacity as Scotland's current nuclear reactors - together with other renewables, these wind farms will ensure we not only meet all of our own demand, but we have a strong surplus of green electricity to export to England, Northern Ireland and beyond."

Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, added that the consent was a "massive leap forward" for the Scottish green energy sector.

She said: "This industry has the potential to generate massive amounts of renewable power for homes and businesses and support thousands of new jobs while helping to slash Scotland's carbon emissions."

 

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