The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has granted development consent for the Hornsea Project Three Offshore Windfarm. Hornsea 3 has a capacity of up to 2,400 MW and would be the UK’s largest offshore windfarm. It is the first to be consented by way of a derogation under Article 6(4) of the Habitats Directive in respect of the potential impact on seabirds and on subsea habitats where cable protection might be used.
The Secretary of State concluded that the public benefits of the scheme were “essential and urgent”. He found that “the principal and essential benefit of the Development [is] as a significant contribution to limiting the extent of climate change in accordance with the objectives of the Climate Change Act 2008. The consequences of not achieving those objectives would be severely deleterious to societies across the globe, including the UK, to human health, to social and economic interests and to the environment.” Those benefits justified granting consent notwithstanding an adverse effect on the integrity of the Flamborough and Filey Coast Special Protection Area through kittiwake collision risk, and on two Special Areas of Conservation through subsea habitat loss. Compensatory measures for both the habitat and kittiwake loss were required.
The decision is available here.
Richard Turney acted for the promoter, Ørsted, instructed by Pinsent Masons LLP.