Multi-billion pound plans to build a series of wind farms off the coast of Scotland are in doubt after the RSPB won a legal challenge to quash their planning consent over fears they would kill too many birds.

A judge ruled in favour of the RSPB’s claim that there were flaws in way the Scottish Government granted consent for the Neart na Gaoithe, Inch Cape, SeaGreen Alpha and SeaGreen Bravo wind farms, which together would have comprised 335 turbines generating up to 2.3 GW of power.

The RSPB claimed that the projects, in the firths of Forth and Tay, would together result in the deaths of “thousands of gannets, puffins, kittiwakes and other seabirds from iconic internationally protected wildlife sites like the Bass Rock and the Isle of May” each year.

The £2bn, 450MW Neart na Gaoithe project was already facing the axe after a subsidy contract from the UK Government was revoked in May as the developer was unable to invest due to the ongoing legal challenge.

The fate of the other three projects, which had yet to secure subsidy contracts, is also now unclear, with developers likely to have to re-apply for planning consent, unless the Scottish Government lodges and wins an appeal against the ruling.

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