Offshore wind energy offers significant potential to help Europe meet its future energy needs. In the UK, the Scottish Government has been supportive of offshore wind energy, granting consent for five large offshore wind farms in 2014.
However, it is estimated that one third of Europe’s breeding seabirds are to be found in Scottish waters. The Scottish Seabird Centre and many others are concerned that the offshore wind farms granted consent by Scottish Ministers will result in the mortality of thousands of seabirds on an annual basis. The most likely to experience the greatest threat are northern gannets (Morus bassanus), the largest colony of which is to be found on the Bass Rock, which is home to around 15% of the world’s entire population of this important seabird.
1. What action is the Commission taking to help reduce the impacts of offshore wind farms on Europe’s seabirds?
2. What research is the Commission planning to carry out to provide greater understanding of the interaction of seabirds and wind farms to ensure better evidence-based decision making on new wind farm applications and to minimise the risk to Europe’s wildlife?
3. What is the Commission’s assessment of the predicted impacts of wind farms on seabirds?