Nicola Sturgeon has urged the RSPB not to appeal against a court ruling backing a £10 billion of offshore renewables development off the Tay and Fife coast.
The First Minister was asked at Holyrood about the Inner House of the Court of Session’s dismissal of an earlier judgement upholding the bird conservation charity’s objection that Scottish Ministers erred when granting planing approvals for three major offshore wind farms in the firths of the two rivers.
The most advanced project is the £2 billion 450MW Neart Na Gaoithe wind farm in the outer Forth estuary, which is fully funded and which also has a power contract.
At First Minister’s Questions, Angus South MSP Graeme Dey asked: “Would she also join me in encouraging the RSPB, who instigated the original action, to accept the appeal decision and resolve their concerns over seabirds by working with the developers on, for example, the sympathetic siting of turbines?”
Ms Sturgeon replied: “I do very much welcome the judgement. I think the development of offshore wind is important, not just for environmental reason but also for economic development reasons in Scotland and I hope this now means the developments can continue.
“Obviously what happens now is a decision for the RSPB, I certainly hope we will see an end to the court action.
“But I would also say this, and I hope the RSPB will listen to this because protecting the environment is really important and I know they have legitimate concerns about this.
“So I would want to say very clearly to them and to others with concerns that we want to make sure we work in a way that allows the development of offshore wind for all the benefits it brings but does so with the protection of the environment very much paramount and I hope we can move forward on that basis.”
RSPB Scotland said it will “take some time to consider this judgement” before making further comment after the judgement was made on Tuesday.