Offshore wind farm allowed in North Sea

The secretary of state for energy and climate change has granted development consent for the construction and operation of either two offshore wind turbine generating stations of 600MW or three generating stations of 400MW located in the North Sea approximately 103km off the East Riding of Yorkshire.

The application was made in this form in order to allow flexibility, although the schemes would have the same maximum potential environmental impacts and geographical extent. The secretary of state agreed that this approach was legally acceptable.

Representations were received from the operator of an airfield alleging that the proposal would affect the safe operation of the airfield. The secretary of state noted, however, that no objection had been received from the Civil Aviation Authority. Nevertheless, he considered that given the magnitude of the potential risk, the order should include a requirement to submit a plan to ensure the safe operation of the airfield.

The secretary of state also noted the examining authority’s advice that the turbine array had the potential to affect habitat sites of European importance, including the habitats of kittiwake, gannet, guillemot, razorbill and puffins. However, he was satisfied, based on the conclusions of an environmental assessment report, that the development would not have an adverse effect on their integrity either when taken alone or in combination with other plans or projects. Further, an increase in mortality in the gull population through the increased risk of collision with turbines would not affect the gull populations in the long term, he concluded.

Examining Authority: Robert Upton

; Hearings

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