After more than two years, Mainstream Renewable Power has this week finally welcomed the end to legal battles which had halted progress of its £2 billion, 450 MW Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm.
In May of this year, we touched on the second-to-last step in the legal battles which had surrounded the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm. The UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has been trying valiantly to prevent the construction of as much as 2.3 gigawatts (GW) worth of offshore wind off the coast of Scotland, due to concerns over the impact on migratory seabirds. In July of 2016, a judge in the Outer Court of Session in Scotland revoked consent for four separate wind farms — the 600-megawatt (MW) Inch Cape Offshore wind farm, the 450 MW Neart Na Gaoithe offshore wind farm, and the 525 MW (each) Seagreen Alpha and Bravo projects. This May, however, the Inner House at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Scotland, overturned the July revocation.
Specifically, Lord Carloway, the Lord President of the Court of Session, penned an Opinion of the Court which dispatched the original judge’s findings, saying that the judge “strayed well beyond the limits of testing the legality of the process and has turned himself into the decision-maker following what appears to have been treated as an appeal against the respondents’ decisions on the facts.” Further, the judge appears to have acted “almost as if he were the reporter at such an inquiry… For this reason alone, his decision on this ground cannot be sustained.”
This week, the Inner House of the Court of Session has refused the RSPB’s application to appeal the Court’s May decision to the country’s Supreme Court, making way for the Neart na Gaoithe to proceed.
“After more than two years and two court hearings, we hope that the RSPB acknowledges a fair hearing and allows us to get on with delivering the very significant benefits this project brings to the Scottish economy and its environment,” said Andy Kinsella, Chief Operating Officer, Mainstream Renewable Power. “Once constructed, this £2bn project will be capable of supplying 325,000 homes – a city the size of Edinburgh – with clean energy.”
“It will create more than 500 direct jobs during construction and over 100 direct permanent jobs once operational. £540 million will be directly invested in Scotland during the construction phase with a further £610m during the operational phase.”
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