Neart survives Supreme challenge
UPDATE: RSPB Scotland examining 'all options'
Mainstream Renewable Power has cleared the latest legal challenge to its 450MW Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm in Scotland with the UK Supreme Court rejecting a petition from RSPB Scotland to reconsider the project’s consent.
The decision “clears the way to proceed with the construction" of the Contract for Difference winner in the outer Firth of Forth as soon as 2018, said the Irish developer.
The ruling also applies to SDIC’s 600MW Inch Cape and SSE/Fluor’s 1050MW Seagreen A&B offshore wind farms in the outer Firth of Tay.
Mainstream chief executive Andy Kinsella said: “After more than two and a half years, two court hearings and two rejected applications for leave to appeal by RSPB Scotland, we can finally focus on delivering the very significant benefits this project brings to the Scottish economy and its environment.”
The NNG Coalition, a group of 60 organisations that support the project, welcomed the decision.
“This nationally-significant infrastructure project has already been delayed unnecessarily by RSPB Scotland for more than two and a half years so now it’s our time to come together and make the most of this £827 million injection into our economy,” said spokesman Alan Duncan.
RSPB has previously indicated it is willing to take its fight against Neart and the other projects, which is largely based on bird impacts, to Europe if unsuccessful with the Supreme Court challenge.
RSPB Scotland director Anne McCall said it will take time to consider “all options remaining to us”.
“However, we are extremely disappointed with this decision, following nearly a decade’s worth of effort from RSPB Scotland to help deliver offshore wind in Scotland in a manner that respects one of the country’s most impressive and internationally renowned natural assets - its fantastic seabird colonies,” she said.
The bird charity also called on Scottish ministers to improve the country’s planning and consenting processes “to ensure that such damaging consents cannot be issued in future”.