25/06/2004
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RSPB Lodges Objection to Tees Offshore Wind Farm Plan

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A formal objection to a proposal to build an offshore wind farm between the mouth of the River Tees and Redcar has been submitted to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, The RSPB announced today (Thursday 24 June 2004).

EDF Energy are proposing a 30 turbine wind farm off the Tees, but after a thorough consideration of the Environmental Statement produced by the company, The RSPB has expressed its objection to the plan in a detailed submission to the Secretary of State. As a result of the considerable local interest in the wind farm proposal, The RSPB is taking the step of making the full text of its objection available on its website http://www.rspb.org.uk/england/north/policy.

The RSPB is objecting to the proposal because it considers that some of the information and survey methodology contained in the Environmental Statement is inadequate. The RSPB is seeking further information and clarification from EDF Energy on a number of issues that it feels are not adequately addressed in the report.

Anna Moody of The RSPB's North of England office said: "The location of the proposed wind farm lies close to sites that have been given some of the highest levels of international protection because of their importance for wildlife. We, therefore, believe that any case for a wind farm in this area must prove that there will be no negative impact on important birds and wildlife habitats. Based on the information that we have seen so far, we are not convinced that this is the case."

In summary, The RSPB's main objections to the wind farm proposal are as follows:

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  • The RSPB considers that the Environmental Statement (ES) does not provide sufficient information about alternative locations and why the site at Teesside was selected.
  • The RSPB considers that the information contained in the ES is currently insufficient to conclude that there will be no adverse effect on the wildlife importance of a site which has been awarded protection as a site of European significance. Based on the information so far made available in the ES, The RSPB believes that the wind farm proposal is likely to have a significant effect on the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast Special Protection Area.
  • The RSPB considers that the ES fails to adequately assess the potential risk of birds colliding with the turbines. A thorough assessment has not been made of the risk of collision under a range of different scenarios, particularly the risk to birds migrating along the coast in bad weather conditions. The RSPB also questions whether the collision risk estimates used in the ES and based on a smaller on-shore wind farm at Blyth are applicable to the Teesside proposal.
  • The RSPB is concerned about the potential disturbance to birds such as sea duck (such as Common Scoter) from the estimated 200+ maintenance visits that would be required to the turbines each year.

Anna Moody added: "Our analysis of the information provided in the Environmental Statement for the Tees wind farm application suggests there could be a detrimental impact on birds and wildlife habitats from this proposal. We consider that the Environmental Statement provides insufficient information about the threat to sensitive bird populations and their habitats from a wind farm constructed at this location.

"We have set out our concerns in a detailed letter to the Secretary of State and we will be expecting the Government to stick to its stated commitment to resolving uncertainties about potential impacts on birds before going ahead with consents.

"Along with many other environmental organisations, The RSPB is keen to see more energy generated from renewable sources, but we don't want this done at the expense of the birds of Teesside or pose a threat to the area's important wildlife sites."

For further information contact: Anna Moody, RSPB Conservation Officer: 0191 2126110.
Written by: David Hirst, RSPB