Supreme Court refuses £2bn offshore wind farm appeal bid

Andy Kinsella, chief executive of Mainstream' offshore division
Andy Kinsella, chief executive of Mainstream’ offshore division

RSPB Scotland’s long-running challenge to a £2 billion offshore wind farm off the Fife coast has been rejected by the Supreme Court, paving the way to proceed with the construction of the development.

An application for leave to appeal in a challenge to the 450MW Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) planning decision by Scottish ministers from 2014 was rejected by the Supreme Court in London today.

Project developer Mainstream Renewable Power welcomed today’s decision.

Andy Kinsella, chief executive officer, 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 wind farm will displace 400,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. The RSPB has already delayed the project by two and a half years, during which time it could have displaced approximately 1 million tonnes of CO2, making a very significant contribution to the Scottish and UK governments’ energy and climate targets.”

He added: “We are delighted with the decision and look forward to working constructively with RSPB Scotland to take the wind farm into construction next year.

“This project was consented by Scottish Ministers in October 2014 on the advice of Scottish Natural Heritage and Marine Scotland. We have been rigorous in our approach throughout the project, working with partners and supply chain businesses to find the best possible way to deliver the project. We look forward to seeing NnG up and running.”

Alan Duncan
Alan Duncan

The Neart na Gaoithe Coalition – a group of almost 60 organisations that have joined together in support of the development – has also welcomed the announcement.

Alan Duncan, spokesman for the Coalition said: “We are delighted with today’s decision. This means the only major infrastructure project that is ready to build in Scotland next year can now go ahead, creating 2,000 jobs for each year of its four year construction process as well as hundreds of long-term permanent jobs.

“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.”

A Fraser of Allander Institute report recently estimated that NnG would contribute 0.6% of GDP (£827m) to the Scottish economy over the project’s lifetime, creating thousands of jobs during the construction phase and over 230 operations and maintenance jobs for the 25 year lifetime of the wind farm. NnG will produce 450 megawatts of clean energy – enough to power a city the size of Edinburgh.

Work is expected to start on the project in 2018.

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