Wind farm allowed despite bird and fish concerns

An Electricity Act application for an offshore wind farm in the Firth of Forth in Scotland has been granted consent despite consultation responses which raised concerns regarding uncertainty over the potential impacts on birds and fish.

The scheme would have a maximum generating capacity of 450 megawatts. The bird species highlighted by RSPB Scotland to be of most concern were kittiwake, gannet and puffin. Concerns over gannet were mainly in relation to collision risk with the turbines during operation whereas concerns over puffin were in relation to displacement of these species from the wind farm. Kittiwake were principally affected by displacement and barrier effects, with collision effects making a relatively small contribution to the estimated impacts. The Scottish Ministers though considered that having regard to the mitigation measures then consent could be granted.
Consultation responses raised concerns regarding uncertainty over the potential impacts on migratory fish. The key issues included subsea noise during construction and operation, EMF’s arising from cabling and operation of the devices, disturbance or degradation of the benthic environment and aggregation effects. The Scottish Ministers considered having regard to the mitigation measures and conditions proposed, there were no outstanding concerns that would require consent to be withheld.
Other issues dealt with included impacts on marine mammals, benthic ecology and habitat interests, sediment disturbance, commercial fishing activity, shipping safety, aviation, recreation and tourism. The Scottish Ministers also reviewed the visual impacts of the development, the efficiency of wind energy, the development of renewable energy, the proposed location of the development, cumulative impacts of the development and its economic benefits. Subject to conditions the Scottish Ministers granted consent for the scheme.
Electricity Act case; Written representations

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