A group of companies in the Scottish offshore wind supply chain have formed a coalition to oppose the RSPB’s attempts to block the construction of a new farm.
The coalition of 29 firms have said the Scottish offshore supply chain cannot afford any further delays to the construction of the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm, which is expected to bring £2bn of investment to Scotland.
The facility is being opposed by RSPB Scotland because of the impact it could have on seabird colonies in the area, including puffins and kittiwakes.
The RSPB said it has applied to take its case to the Supreme Court after a Scottish court rejected its latest appeal to block construction.
Alan Duncan, director of Scotia Supply Chain and a spokesperson for the NnG Offshore Wind Farm Coalition, said: “We have come together to call on RSPB Scotland to recognise the serious social, economic and environmental consequences of… continuing to appeal this decision.
“Hundreds of families in communities across the east of Scotland will be directly affected should this project not go ahead.”
NnG, if built, is expected to generate 450MW of electricity, displace 400,000 tonnes of CO2 a year and create around 600 jobs. The facility already has government approval and, legal delays aside, construction could start as soon as next year.
The RSPB has said it recognised the key role of renewables in reducing emissions and has been working with developers and Scottish ministers to develop offshore wind in a way that minimises the impact on seabirds.
Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland, said: “The issues of the case and the recent [legal] judgement 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.”
A spokesman for the Scottish government told SM: “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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