The overall area of a proposed “world-leading” offshore windfarm has been reduced amid concerns about its potential impact on birds and shellfish.
SSE Renewables has confirmed it plans to reduce the mass of Berwick Bank Wind Farm by about 20 per cent.
The reduction in size comes 12 months after the size of the area had already been reduced by 10 per cent.
Despite the most recent change in size – down from 1,313.89 sq km to 1,010.23 sq km – the maximum number of turbines remains at 307.
Final preparations are being made to submit the project to the Scottish Ministers for planning consent.
The development will be located about 40 kilometres off the coast of East Lothian, with a grid connection at Branxton, near Torness, already in place.
‘Essential to targets’
Alex Meredith, Berwick Bank Wind Farm project director, said: “Advancing Berwick Bank at its full potential capacity is essential to delivering on Scottish and UK Government offshore wind and net-zero targets, as well as being key to securing supply chain investment in Scotland.
“Since the last design review in 2021, global events have only increased the need to deliver the project at maximum speed and scale.
“We are committed that this trailblazing project will play a part in addressing the nature emergency as well as the climate emergency.
“That is why we have been determined to propose as environmentally sensitive a design as possible.
“We have been through a detailed process of refinement to define a consenting envelope which incorporates a number of additional measures, including the boundary change, to reduce potential environmental effects – particularly in relation to ornithology.
“We expect this important additional pre-consent change to facilitate an efficient consent determination so we can progress Berwick Bank to delivery as soon as possible.”
The decision was made as part of the project’s design process following extensive stakeholder consultation, detailed ornithological studies and full environmental assessment, which is nearing completion.
Although the overall area that will form the basis of the consent application is to be reduced, the capacity of green electricity that will be generated by Berwick Bank will remain unchanged at 4.1GW.
The change to the boundary is one of several measures being taken by the project to reduce potential effects on ornithology, as well as benthic and shellfish ecology, fishing, shipping and navigation, and represents the final step in the pre-consent design process.
Updating the environmental impact assessment to reflect the new boundary and taking requests made by Marine Scotland in the scoping opinion will result in the consent application being made towards the end of the year.
Sarah Edwards, consent team manager for Berwick Bank, said: “We have listened to feedback and consultation responses in the local community, especially in relation to seabirds.
“The boundary reduction will reduce potential effects on seabirds by reducing the footprint of the project on important foraging habitat.”
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