The Supreme Court has rejected the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB’s) attempt to block the construction of the 450MW Neart na Gaoithe wind farm in the Firth of Forth.

Mainstream Renewable Power, the Irish company behind the project, said construction could now begin as early as 2018.

Andy Kinsella, Chief Executive at Mainstream, said: “After more than two and a half years, two court hearings and two rejected applications for leave to appeal by RSPB Scotland, we can finally focus on delivering the very significant benefits this project brings to the Scottish economy and its environment.”

Alan Duncan, a spokesman for the NNG coalition, made up of 60 project supporters, added: “This nationally-significant infrastructure project has already been delayed unnecessarily by RSPB Scotland for more than two and a half years so now it’s our time to come together and make the most of this £827 million injection into our economy.”

RSPB reaction

The decision also gives the go-ahead for the 600MW Inch Cape and 1GW Seagreen A and B offshore wind farms in the Firth of Tay.

Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “In light of this refusal for permission to appeal we will be taking some time to consider all other options remaining to us.

“However, we are extremely disappointed with this decision, following nearly a decade’s worth of effort from RSPB Scotland to help deliver offshore wind in Scotland in a manner that respects one of the country’s most impressive and internationally renowned natural assets - its fantastic seabird colonies.”

> Read the RSPB's reaction in full