Worries over the plight of harbour porpoises have held up Dong Energy’s plans to build the world’s biggest offshore wind farm 60 miles off the coastline of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.
A Government decision on whether the 300-turbine project should be approved has been put back over concerns that the construction noise from pile-driving will adversely affect the porpoises – notably by damaging their hearing.
Like whales, porpoises are sensitive to sound, and even the throb of a motor on a small ship half a mile away is reckoned by some to be their equivalent of a human putting one ear alongside a speaker at a Black Sabbath concert.
To protect the porpoises, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is backing calls from Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee for a Special Area of Conservation covering a total of 14,000 square miles in the southern North Sea.
That includes the entire 15 square miles earmarked for the proposed Hornsea Two Project wind farm.
Pending further information from Dong about potential mitigation measures to ease the threat to porpoises, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd is not expected to make a decision until August.