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Ministers ordered to reconsider wind farm risk to rare birds  

Credit:  STV | 19 July 2016 | stv.tv ~~

Conservationists have won a legal challenge in Scotland’s highest court against four offshore wind farms.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) objected to proposed developments in the Forth and Tay, which it said put rare birds at risk.

The wind farms could power 1.4 million homes and create thousands of jobs.

Lawyers acting for the RSPB went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to challenge the Scottish Government’s decisions to allow the developments to go head.

Their legal team argued Scottish ministers were in breach of the requirements placed upon them by the law when they made their original decisions and they did not give proper consideration to the area being a haven for rare wildlife.

The RSPB feared the developments could deplete the bird populations, including the Atlantic puffin, the northern gannet and black-legged kittiwake.

On Tuesday, judge Lord Stewart ruled in favour of the RSPB.

He ordered Scottish ministers to reconsider the decisions on whether to grant planning permissions for the Neart na Gaoithe, Inch Cape, Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo developments.

The ministers’ new decision will have to address the legal points brought out in court by the RSPB team.

In a written judgment issued at the court, Lord Stewart wrote that the RSPB had proven their case.

He added: “I have now decided to grant the petition and to reduce the decision complained of so that the decisions can be remade properly.

“In consequence, decree of reduction will be pronounced and decree of declarator will be pronounced in respect of the conclusions of the ‘appropriate assessment’ in relation to the Inch Cape project in combination with the other Forth and Tay projects.”

The Scottish Government previously estimated the wind farms concerned could generate between £314m and £1.2bn for the Scottish economy.

The Holyrood administration also said the developments could also between 2567 and 13,612 jobs within Scotland during the construction period.

Source:  STV | 19 July 2016 | stv.tv

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