Red-throated diver sees off consortium of energy firms as wind farm plan axed


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The Independent Online

The red-throated diver has forced three state-backed energy companies to scrap a project to expand the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array.

The consortium of Denmark’s Dong Energy, Germany’s E.ON and the Abu Dhabi state-owned energy investor Masdar yesterday joined a list of companies scaling back plans to build new offshore wind capacity in Britain.

An assessment of the potential impact to the red-throated diver water birds from the expansion would take at least three years, the group said yesterday as it cancelled its plans.

The project would have added 200 megawatts of capacity to the 630 MW wind farm. It also would have affected 38 per cent of the diver’s UK wintering grounds, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said. The bird’s UK wintering population totals 17,000 and is in decline, according to the RSPB.

“There is no guarantee at the end of three years that we will be able to satisfy the authorities that any impact on the birds would be acceptable,” Mike O’Hare, the general manager of the London Array, said.

The RSPB said it had worked with London Array to ensure its initial development would not harm wildlife but “raised concerns over the second phase”.