Wind farms can go ahead as long as the turbines kill less than 94 birds every year, according to the Government.
In a decision that could have implications for future developments around the coast, Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, gave the go ahead to Race Bank and Dudgeon wind farms off Norfolk.
Environmentalists have fought the decision for three years because of the risk to sandwich terns, a protected species.
However Mr Davey argued that the wind farms should be allowed to go ahead if less than 94 birds are killed per annum.
It is predicted Race Bank, that will be 96 turbines, could kill 43 birds every year and Dudgeon, that will be 85 turbines, 28. Already Sheringham Shoal, a wind farm in the area that has been approved and Tritum Knoll, that is under consideration, could kill 22 of sandwich terns per annum.
The addition of the two new wind farms brings the total potential body count to 93, just below the Secretary of State’s ‘acceptable level’ of 94.
However Docking Shoal, another wind farm proposed for the Norfolk coast, that would kill up to another 71 birds per annum, was refused because it could wipe out too many sandwich terns.
The decision could have implications in the future as the Government is planning to increase the number of turbines offshore from 500 currently to more than 5,000. Many of the planned wind farms are also in areas where birds are at risk. Ministers also want to double the number of turbines onshore to 6,000.
Conservationists fear the impact on rare birds may be too high a price to pay.
Natural England, the Government’s own adviser think the number of sandwich terns allowed to be killed every year should be much lower at 75.
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