Endangered seabirds put at risk by windfarm approval

Guide

The future of some of the UK’s most endangered seabirds will continue to be put at risk unless a new approach is taken in the deployment of offshore windfarms. The Westminster Government approved the large Norfolk Boreas wind farm off the East Anglian coast on Friday (December 10 2021).

Not fit for purpose

While acknowledging the importance of increasing low carbon energy, the RSPB argue that the tools on which decisions are being made are not fit for purpose and in this case will have disastrous consequences for seabirds such as kittiwakes, gannets, razorbills and lesser black-backed gulls.  

These are just some of the birds which frequent this area and nest at nearby Special Protected Area’s Alde-Or Estuary and Flamborough and Filey Coast, which includes the RSPB Reserve at Bempton.  

The RSPB's Response

Katie-Jo Luxton, the RSPB’s director for conservation said:

“The decision to go ahead with the Norfolk Boreas offshore windfarm highlights that the tools available for decision-makers to deliver low carbon energy are not fit for purpose. Increasingly, this results in the Secretary of State taking decisions which permit action on climate while accepting the results will lead to wildlife declines and worsening the nature emergency."

"We are deeply concerned that without system change, the UK will continue to lose nature and fail to reach 2030 offshore wind targets."

“Our marine planning system is failing nature and net zero; the energy industry is being locked into sites where planners acknowledge further development will harm our marine environment. Industry alone cannot reconcile this challenge and as yet the only proposals to address the loss of wildlife are taking a gamble with our already struggling seabirds. We are deeply concerned that without system change, the UK will continue to lose nature and fail to reach 2030 offshore wind targets. "

“Norfolk Boreas is one of several  projects proposed for the southern North Sea. The east Anglia and Yorkshire coast are home to globally important seabird strongholds, however their future here is uncertain. The cumulative impacts from increasing numbers of turbines in already degraded seas are predicted to have disastrous consequences for kittiwakes, guillemots, razorbills, gannets, lesser black-backed gulls and many of the other amazing birds relying on our seas."

"We now need to see ambition and commitment turned into action - our seas and climate cannot afford to wait."

“Our Prime Minister has rightly set ambitious targets for offshore wind expansion and in England, the new Environment Act has committed Westminster to halting wildlife declines. We now need to see ambition and commitment turned into action - our seas and climate cannot afford to wait.”