Court overrules environmental objections to Dutch near-shore pilot project

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The Netherlands' highest administrative court, the Raad van State, has overruled objections from environmental group Stichting Duinbehoud to the government's near shore pilot project, a 99 MW development known as NSW. The group's objection was based on an estimated 10,000 bird deaths a year caused by the 36 turbine wind farm, to be built ten kilometres off the Dutch coast. The estimate was made by government agencies after preparatory research, but project developer NoordZeewind, a consortium of Dutch power company Nuon and power giant Shell, says it is an exaggeration. "Our experience with other wind farms shows that the number of bird deaths is much lower than was predicted beforehand," says Nuon. Despite the ruling in favour of the developer, the Stichting Duinbehoud intends to continue its defence of coastal bird life. "We will try to ensure that the project is built as far from the shore as possible within the designated zone which stretches from ten to 18 kilometres offshore. Far fewer birds are found 18 kilometres offshore than at ten kilometres," the group told Dutch wire agency ANP. NoordZeewind's Peter Knoers, however, says the decision to build the project at the planned site is not open to further discussion.

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