Scottish supply chain companies have formed a coalition that is calling on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland to end its legal challenge against the 450-MW Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm.
The group, called the NnG Offshore Wind Farm Coalition, includes 29 companies, among which Atkins, CS Wind UK, Geo Sea, James Fisher (LON:FSJ) and the developer of the project, Mainstream Renewable Power. It has written an open letter to RSPB Scotland, urging the conservation charity to abandon further legal action against the wind farm. The companies say they will create many of the 600 jobs that will result from the construction and operation of the wind farm.
The move comes after RSPB Scotland said on Tuesday it has applied directly to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal against the recent decision by the Inner House of the Court of Session to approve four Scottish offshore wind projects in the Firths of Forth and Tay.
"We urge you to respect the decision of the 19th July made by Scotland’s highest Court, which rejected your request for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court in London," the coalition says.
NnG is the only of the four projects that secured a Contract for Difference (CfD), so it is ready to begin construction as early as 2018, the businesses note.
The four projects were granted development consents in 2014. These were challenged by RSPB in 2015 and the Outer House of the Court of Session in July 2016 ruled that there were flaws in the approval process. Scottish ministers, however, were successful in their appeal against that decision, as announced in May.
"While we are sympathetic to the concerns of the RSPB about the planning process, this is about real people, real jobs and real environmental benefit," Alan Duncan of Scotia Supply Chain and a spokesperson for the coalition said in a statement. "Scotland cannot afford to put nationally significant infrastructure projects like NnG at risk," Duncan added.
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