£450m Sea Energy Park Not Such a Threat to Birds
By Anne Lewis-Schneider
The delays that have prevented the building of a Sea Energy Park to provide off shore wind energy have been caused due to the use of the area by black-tailed godwits. It is feared that the loss of the habitat will do irrevocable damage to the mudflats that these birds use for feeding. An alternative feeding site has been identified at Cherry Cobb Sands but there is still fear that the birds will not adapt to the new area well. The Government wildlife adviser has lessened its level of concern for the birds, but not without strong opposition from Natural England, who are concerned that damage could be done to the species which requires a specialised habitat to breed and feed.
Able UK has been waiting in the wings to get the go-ahead to build the largest offshore wind park in Europe on the south bank of the Humber. It would appear that the tidal exchange regulator that has been suggested for use in the eco-sensitive area is new to Britain and this is causing doubt about the safety of the area for the birds. Natural England are not convinced that there will be no risk to the birds but have said that the risk would appear to have been reduced after they received more information on the system.
The RSPB have raised concerns about the loss of habitat to the birds which fall under the “red flag” of endangered species. Stephen Kirkwood, the tenant farmer who stands to lose 250 acres of his farm for the new habitat in Cherry Cobb Sands is adamant that Able UK has not come up with a good enough scientific plan to prove that the moving of the feeding grounds would actually work, because of the lapse of around six years for the new grounds to become established.
The government are in a difficult position with the need to invest in low carbon energy infrastructure. The arguments for the Sea Energy Park have increased but with little scientific data to back it up. The new development would see the construction of a new quay and manufacturing, assembling and storage facilities for components of wind farming planned for the North Sea. Able UK has previously gone on record as saying that the project and its transformation of the area would be of enormous benefit to the UK.
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