Gannets, puffins, kittiwakes: birds at risk in Scottish windfarm surge

After a long legal battle, 335 turbines will now be built in Scottish waters

In the waters of the North Sea a few miles off Scotland’s east coast, a nine-year battle has been raging that threatens a fragile and unique environmental equilibrium. The struggle has made mortal enemies of two huge lobbies that share a passionate commitment to the environment.

On one side are the developers of four vast windfarms comprising 335 turbines, which are planned for the waters of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay. The windfarms are backed by the Scottish government, which regards renewable wind energy as key to the economic future. Pitched against them is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which claims the scale of the developments threatens the existence of some of Scotland’s best-loved species of seabird.

Related: Mersey feat: world's biggest wind turbines go online near Liverpool

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