logo
Article

In Hérault, wind turbine blades kill protected birds

Le Monde|Emilie Veyssié|July 27, 2017
EuropeImpact on Birds

Wind generators in Aumelas slaughtered 33 kestrels. France nature environnement takes EDF to court.

FRANCE -- On the causse d'Aumelas, in the Hérault department, there is a wind farm of around 800 hectares between two special protection zones. These areas, created in application of the Birds Directive, must ensure the protection of avifauna. The causse is precisely the hunting ground of the Lesser Kestrel, raptor 75 centimeters wide, and very rare in Europe, which has returned to colonize the south of France in recent years. It is a protected species, classified as “vulnerable” at the national level.

This is where the wind turbines stand, for which EDF Energies nouvelles (EN) is the manager. The site now has 31 wind turbines, compared to 24 in 2010. In the year, the park produces enough electricity for a population of around 70,000 inhabitants, the equivalent of the agglomeration of Sète, neighboring the municipality of Aumelas.

The Hérault League for the Protection of ... more [truncated due to possible copyright]

     

Wind generators in Aumelas slaughtered 33 kestrels. France nature environnement takes EDF to court.

FRANCE -- On the causse d'Aumelas, in the Hérault department, there is a wind farm of around 800 hectares between two special protection zones. These areas, created in application of the Birds Directive, must ensure the protection of avifauna. The causse is precisely the hunting ground of the Lesser Kestrel, raptor 75 centimeters wide, and very rare in Europe, which has returned to colonize the south of France in recent years. It is a protected species, classified as “vulnerable” at the national level.

This is where the wind turbines stand, for which EDF Energies nouvelles (EN) is the manager. The site now has 31 wind turbines, compared to 24 in 2010. In the year, the park produces enough electricity for a population of around 70,000 inhabitants, the equivalent of the agglomeration of Sète, neighboring the municipality of Aumelas.

The Hérault League for the Protection of Birds (LPO), responsible for monitoring the mortality of kestrels on the site since 2010, found 33 corpses at the foot of the wind turbines. The animals died from collision with the blades. The environmental code punishes the destruction of protected species by two years in prison and a 150,000 euro fine, but provides for the possibility of derogation "provided that there is no other satisfactory solution and that the exemption does not harm the maintenance (…) of the populations concerned ”.

Despite written requests from the Regional Directorate for the Environment, Planning and Housing (Dreal) and the LPO, EDF-EN has never filed a waiver file, while continuing to destroy the Lesser Kestrel. Dreal did not issue a formal notice to compel EDF-EN to file this file.

Impact study

France nature environnement (FNE) launched a legal action against the company for destruction of protected species, on June 30. In the summons, the nature protection federation recalls that EDF-EN is aware of the risk of death from collision of raptor since the impact study conducted in 2006 by the LPO de l'Hérault. Asked, the company did not wish to comment on the current procedure.

If EDF-EN files an exemption file, the group should indicate the major imperative reason justifying the construction of the wind farm in this area. In other words, to prove that the park could not have been developed elsewhere. This file could question its existence.

The bird protection association, paid by EDF to carry out mortality monitoring, passes twice a week, between March and November, and examines the ground up to 50 meters around the wind turbines. The number of birds victims of the fins could be higher than the 33 beasts found between the passages, because predators, like foxes, can carry the dead raptors. "Potentially, we could have three times more cases of mortality than those we find," says Nicolas Saulnier, director of the LPO-Hérault. The association also wears the hat of the departmental operator of the national action plan for the Lesser Kestrel aiming to increase its population. In France, there are around 400 pairs of this raptor, and 180 in the Hérault department alone.

Scaring

In 2013, following the first cases of mortality, EDF set up detection and scaring systems on wind turbines. When birds approach, a device emits sounds to make them deflect. But it seems that the Lesser Kestrel is too small to be noticed by the system. In addition, the time at which the birds hunt, very early in the morning and very late in the evening, the brightness is quite low and does not allow the device to distinguish them. Mortality of hawks has not been reduced according to the LPO.

Wind turbines are a danger to flying fauna in general. Thus, 13 Eurasian Harriers, another protected and declining species, were found dead by the LPO between 2010 and 2016 in the park of Aumelas. Barotrauma - the sudden drop in pressure near wind turbines - also affects bats that die instantly. The area is avoided by certain birds such as Bonelli's eagles, which thus lose part of their habitat, explains Alain Ravayrol, naturalist, who installed GPS on their backs in order to follow them.

FNE, like the LPO, recalls that the federation is not opposed to the development of wind power, but wishes that this be done taking into account the challenges of biodiversity. France has 5,760 wind turbines in operation according to the LPO, which published a study on the impact of the French wind farm on avifauna in June. This volume is set to double by 2023.

Translation from French to English using Google Translate


Source:https://www.lemonde.fr/planet…

Share this post
Follow Us
Donate
Stay Updated

We respect your privacy and never share your contact information. | LEGAL NOTICES

Contact Us

WindAction.org
Lisa Linowes, Executive Director
phone: 603.838.6588

Email contact

General Copyright Statement: Most of the sourced material posted to WindAction.org is posted according to the Fair Use doctrine of copyright law for non-commercial news reporting, education and discussion purposes. Some articles we only show excerpts, and provide links to the original published material. Any article will be removed by request from copyright owner, please send takedown requests to: info@windaction.org

© 2022 INDUSTRIAL WIND ACTION GROUP CORP. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WEBSITE GENEROUSLY DONATED BY PARKERHILL TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION