The area proposed for the 231-turbine, 2.4GW Hornsea Three development lay close to special protection areas (SPAs) designated for their ecological importance to a variety of seabirds. The examiners recommended that development consent should be refused due to potential significant adverse effects from the cumulative impacts of a number of offshore wind farm projects. Statutory nature conservation bodies advised that proposed compensatory measures would not meet the habitats regulations.
Having regard to the examiners’ otherwise favourable conclusions and the strong endorsement of offshore wind electricity generation in national energy policy, the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy decided to exercise his discretion to allow post-examination consultation on the seabirds issue, giving the applicants an opportunity to draw up suitable detailed measures to compensate for specific harm to the kittiwake population and the coastal SPA.
Examiners: David Prentis, Roger Catchpole, David Cliff, Guy Rigby; Hearing