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Wind farms are 'killing eagles'

TURBINE blades on a wind farm are killing a key population of Europe's largest eagle, wildlife campaigners warned today.

Killer Blades

Killer blades

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said only one white tailed eagle is expected to fledge from the wind farm site on the birds' former stronghold of Smola, a set of islands about six miles off the north-west Norwegian coast.

Turbine blades have killed nine birds in the last ten months including all three chicks that fledged last year.

The number of young has crashed from at least ten each year before the wind farm was built, with numbers outside the farm falling as well. There are no breeding pairs within one kilometre of the turbines.

BirdLife International made Smola an Important Bird Area in 1989, because it had one of the highest densities of white tailed eagles in the world.

Fear

Scientists now fear that wind farms planned for the rest of Norway-there are more than 100 proposals, could replicate the impact on the wildlife of Smola.

Norway is the most important country in the world for white tailed eagles.

Dr Rowena Langston, Senior Research Biologist at the RSPB said "Smola is demonstrating the damage that can be caused by a wind farm in the wrong location.

"The RSPB strongly supports renewable energies including wind,... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

 Killer Blades

Killer blades 

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said only one white tailed eagle is expected to fledge from the wind farm site on the birds' former stronghold of Smola, a set of islands about six miles off the north-west Norwegian coast.

Turbine blades have killed nine birds in the last ten months including all three chicks that fledged last year.

The number of young has crashed from at least ten each year before the wind farm was built, with numbers outside the farm falling as well. There are no breeding pairs within one kilometre of the turbines.

BirdLife International made Smola an Important Bird Area in 1989, because it had one of the highest densities of white tailed eagles in the world.

Fear

Scientists now fear that wind farms planned for the rest of Norway-there are more than 100 proposals, could replicate the impact on the wildlife of Smola.

Norway is the most important country in the world for white tailed eagles.

Dr Rowena Langston, Senior Research Biologist at the RSPB said "Smola is demonstrating the damage that can be caused by a wind farm in the wrong location.

"The RSPB strongly supports renewable energies including wind, but the deaths of adult birds and the three young born last year make the prospects for white-tailed eagles on the island look bleak.

"There are other wind farms close to Smola which are putting more eagles in jeopardy too.

"The deaths of these birds show just how inadequate existing decision-making processes are for new technologies such as wind farms.

Impact

"Developers and governments should be taking note, these types of impact must be properly considered and acted upon when proposals are first made to avoid the unnecessary losses we are witnessing on Smola."

Researchers are now running weekly checks for dead birds at the 68 turbine Smola site and pressure is mounting on the Norwegian government to improve environmental assessments, both from conservationists and the wind farm operator, Statkraft.

At the same time, the RSPB said it is backing a new four year study at the site by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) at the site to assess the effects of turbines on swans and wading birds such as golden plover, dunlin and whimbrel, and on the ability of white tailed eagles to adapt to the wind farm.

Arne Follestad, a Research Scientist at NINA said: "Norway is the most important country in the world for white tailed eagles.

"We know little of the cumulative effects of the many wind farms planned for Norway, so it is important to study their long term effects on the eagle population both on Smola and elsewhere."

The RSPB believes climate change poses the greatest long-term threat to wildlife and strongly supports the development of renewable energy including wind farms so long as they are well sited.

'Ignored'

The Norwegian government reportedly ignored warnings of the consequences for the wildlife of the Smola wind farm proposal before it was built.

Dr Mark Avery, Conservation Director at the RSPB said: "The eagles' deaths confirm the fears we expressed at that time and show how devastating a poorly sited wind farm can be.

"Wind farms can and should be helping us tackle climate change and can do so without affecting important wildlife sites.

"It is vital now that environmental impact assessments take full account of conservationists' advice and that those assessments help form the backbone of future decisions on wind farm applications."


Source: http://www.manchesterevenin...

JUN 23 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/3169-wind-farms-are-killing-eagles
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