RSPB criticises Hornsea Three approval

In: Windfarms
04/01/2021
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has criticised the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for approving Ørsted’s 2.4 GW Hornsea Three offshore wind farm Development Consent Order.  

Hornsea Three is to be located in the North Sea, off the coast of north Norfolk. The project is currently poised to have a maximum capacity of 2.4 GW and will be the world's largest offshore wind farm, featuring up to 300 wind turbines. It is expected to power approximately 2 million UK homes.

Conditions have been included in the DCO to secure the provision of compensation in relation to the impacts on the Flamborough and Filey Coast Special Protection Area and the North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef Special Area of Conservation and the Wash and North Norfolk Coast Special Area of Conservation.

Plans include building four bespoke nesting towers for kittiwake to encourage nesting on land. But the RSPB says it will take a decade to see whether this idea works and the wind farms will be up and running by then. The RPSB claims that the huge turbines, stretching over 200 metres, will cause the deaths of 73 Kittiwakes each year.

Martin Harper, the RSPB's director for global conservation, said: "The Government has accepted that the expansion of offshore wind turbines in this part of the North Sea will be damaging to seabird numbers in the surrounding area and is putting its faith in an unproven compensation scheme that will attempt to balance the loss of globally important seabirds at one site by encouraging numbers elsewhere.

"We hope they are right, but the Government cannot be certain of Orsted's compensation proposals will succeed. Concerningly it may be a decade or more before we know if it has been successful by which time Hornsea Three and many more projects will have been constructed and the damage to our seabird colonies at the Flamborough and Filey Coast Special Protection Area in North Yorkshire may be irreversible.


"Industry alone cannot reconcile the challenge of increased deployment and threats to nature. These are a symptom of poor planning and must be urgently addressed by the UK Government if they are to deliver on their ambitious targets for offshore wind. We are keen to work with industry and planners across the UK to support the expansion of offshore wind in harmony with nature."


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