The Hornsea Project Four Offshore Wind Farm application has been granted development consent by the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.
In a joint statement from both RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts said: “Today’s decision is a damning indictment of the UK Government’s commitment to halting species decline, ignoring the consensus of evidence from leading scientists who have unequivocally stated that this development risks causing further declines to nearby populations of Amber-Listed seabirds such as Gannet and Razorbill, while putting faith in unproven mitigation for Guillemot and in untried and untested compensation scheme for Red-Listed Kittiwake.
“Our globally important seabirds are in a precarious state decisions like this push already vulnerable species closer to the edge.”
Katie-Lo Luxton, director for conservation at the RSPB said: “This must be the last time we trade off nature against climate. We all agree that we must urgently decarbonise our energy system and invest in renewable energy, but we cannot keep selecting areas for new developments that we already know are crucial to wildlife and ecosystems, and then retrofit nature’s needs by asking energy companies to perform impossible tasks of compensating for damage.”
And Joan Edwards from The Wildlife Trusts added: “This should be a wake-up call for Government that we urgently need a much better plan for managing our seas. This includes identifying and protecting strongholds for seabirds and other marine wildlife, avoiding development in these areas, and investing in marine restoration projects – benefitting nature, climate and industries that rely on healthy seas.”