A £2billion wind farm project is to go ahead after a court appeal by wildlife campaigners was rejected.
The Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm was one of four projects given planning approval by Scottish ministers in 2014, but challenged in the courts by RSPB Scotland.
The charity won its initial legal bid after arguing the developments – also including the Inch Cape and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo projects – threatened thousands of seabirds.
However the ruling was overturned after ministers appealed.
The Inner House of the Court of Session has now refused the RSPB’s application to appeal against that decision at the Supreme Court.
Andy Kinsella, of Mainstream Renewable Power, the developer behind the Neart na Gaoithe project off the Fife coast, said; “After more than two years and two court hearings, we hope that the
RSPB acknowledges a fair hearing and allows us to get on with delivering the very significant benefits this project brings to the Scottish economy and its environment.”
The firm said its project alone will be capable of supplying 325,000 homes with clean energy, while creating more than 500 jobs during construction and over 100 permanent posts once operational.
It said £540 million will be directly invested in Scotland during construction, with a further £610 million during the operational phase.
Mr Kinsella added: “We have taken advantage of significant advances in the technology to be used, allowing the number of turbines to be reduced from the 125 in the original consent application in 2012 to a maximum of 64.”
Work is expected to start on the project in 2018.
RSPB has 28 days to decide whether to apply directly to the Supreme Court.