Rare birds could hold up 1GW London Array offshore project

UK: Phase one of the 1GW London Array wind farm could start generating electricity as early as 2012, however phase two of the project could be threatened by the unexpected presence of rare sea birds.

London Array under construction in the Thames estuary
London Array under construction in the Thames estuary

The first 630MW phase of the joint E.on, Dong Energy and Masdar-owned scheme is progressing on schedule with two substations and many of the foundations now installed on site.

Project director Richard Rigg told Windpower Monthly that with up to 50 vessels now working on the wind farm’s construction phase the first half of the project was progressing well.

But phase two of the project, located in the Thames Estuary in south-east England, could be held up following the discovery of a colony of rare birds in the area.

Virtually the same number of red-throated diver birds where found on the site as are usually found in the entire British Isles. This has prompted objections to the wind farm from the powerful RSPB conservation group, along with environmental body Natural England.

Rigg says London Array is now undertaking a further bird habitat study and will evaluate the effect the first phase has on the red throated divers during its first breeding season of operation before the second 370MW phase.

London Array says that well-known bird expert and BBC broadcaster Bill Oddie has said in response that sea birds currently face a far greater threat from land-based electricity pylons that they do from the presence of offshore wind turbines.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in