The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
Bird legal battle had ‘dire’ effect on project
Fife Council co-leader David Alexander has taken aim at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) for its role in causing a two-year delay to the NnG wind farm – and the knock-on effect it may have had on BiFab.
The RSPB were involved in a lengthy legal battle with those behind the project, as well as the Inch Cape and Seagreen wind farms, after arguing the developments presented a serious threat to sea birds.
The UK Supreme Court denied the bird preservation charity’s application to appeal an earlier ruling, stating that the permissions granted by Scottish ministers were valid, but the protracted process, Mr Alexander maintains, cost BiFab dearly.
“I don’t want to be too critical of the RSPB but if they hadn’t caused the two-year delay then these contracts would have been up and running,” he said.
“The delay had dire consequences, without any shadow of a doubt.”
Mr Alexander welcomed suggestions that BiFab will get work on some of the NnG jacket structures which should create 200 jobs, but he added: “We know eight (jackets) isn’t enough, but BiFab has to smash that contract. We have every right to expect the benefit of work off our own shore.”
RSPB Scotland director Stuart Housden stressed that the wind farm projects threatened to kill thousands of Scotland’ s internationally protected sea birds every year, including thousands of puffins, gannets and kittiwakes.
“While we fully support deployment of renewable energy, this must not be at any cost,” he said.