Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from Europe
It's wild, it's out there and it matters to almost everybody, even if they hardly ever see it. Scotland's remote and untamed mountains, moors and glens have been given overwhelming backing in a major new poll for the conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Over 90% of people interviewed said they thought it important for Scotland to have wild places. Of the 1304 who were questioned, only six suggested wild land was not important. More than 60% of Scottish residents said that action was needed to protect wild areas from being damaged by modern buildings, bulldozed tracks, mobile phone masts, electricity pylons or wind turbines. About 50% thought that wild places were under threat.
"This is an extremely commendable decision by the Scottish Government that is absolutely right for Scotland. It sends a very strong message that in meeting our ambitious, and welcome, renewable targets we do not have to sacrifice our most important environmental resources. The Government has made it clear, in repeated statements on this issue, that renewables must be delivered, but not at any price.
Plans by Lewis Windpower for a wind farm at Barvas Moor in Lewis have been refused consent on the grounds of incompatibility with European law. Ministers have concluded that the proposed 181 turbine Lewis Wind Farm would have a serious impact on the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area, which is designated under the EC Birds Directive and protected under the EC Habitats Directive. ..."European legislation requires a specific procedure to be followed when proposals which could potentially affect Special Protection Areas come forward. I considered all the relevant issues and concluded it would not be possible to approve this application.
Scotland's vast expanses of peat bogs are regarded as our equivalent of the rainforests, and 17 per cent of the world's "blanket bog" is in this country. In all, Scottish peatlands cover some 1.9 million hectares and contain about two billion tons of carbon - roughly four times the UK's annual output - as well as "sucking in" carbon from the atmosphere. But the wild land on Lewis could be turned into an industrial landscape if the building of 176 turbines is granted approval, and other vital peatlands face the same fate. ...The Scottish Government has said it is "minded to refuse" the £500 million project but has yet to make a final decision. If it does go ahead, thousands of tonnes of peat would be excavated from the moor and huge amounts of concrete and aggregates poured into the ground to accommodate the foundations, roads and sub-stations. ..."In the headlong rush to cut carbon emissions, the EU and the UK government are throwing money into renewable energy without any coherent planning strategy to determine where wind farms should and shouldn't be built.
... yesterday, councillors refused the proposals after considering comments from Tim Page, conservation adviser for Natural England. Mr Page said the development, which would be close to the Humber Estuary Special Protection Area, would have an adverse effect on wildlife. He said: "We advise that the council is not in a position to conclude that there will not be an adverse effect on the estuary." This was supported by the councillors sitting on the committee. Coun John Colebrook (Con, Humberston and New Waltham), said: "There is no point in having a conservation area and then making ways of intruding into it."
They were once a common sight on the west Highland estate of Beinn an Tuirc, but as the landscape has changed over the past 40 years, there is now a greater chance of spotting a mountain hare at a tea party than on the moorland. Now, a project by an energy company aims to establish a thriving community of the creatures by next Easter. Scottish Power Renewables is offering £30 to rangers for every hare they hand over. The animals will be reintroduced to draw a pair of golden eagles, which feed on the hares, away from the wind turbines. The company is offering cash after a call to estates for help failed to elicit a strong response.
Mr Scott, a life-long member of the RSPB, said the farmers had prided themselves on nurturing wildlife, and in particular birds, on their farms. And he said the area boasted an array of rarer species of birds including Bitterns, Green Plovers, Marsh Harriers and even migrating Quails. But since the arrival of the wind farm the birdlife has diminished and the hundreds of Bewick and Whooper swans that used to winter on the farmland have disappeared. Mr Scott and Mr Clark believe the effect the turbines have on wildlife is being covered up by developers eager to build even more of the windmills.
Plans for the UK's largest onshore wind farm on the Shetlands have come under fierce opposition from protesters, four years after the idea was proposed. A planning application for around 155 wind turbines, each up to 145 metres from blade to tip, is due to be submitted to councillors this summer. ...Opponents claim it will damage a landscape little changed since the last minor Ice Age. They are concerned that the turbines will be visible from almost every vantage point on the islands and beyond. They also fear that, once the sub-sea cable is installed, other developers will want to make use of every hillside in Shetland, turning it from an island community into little more than an offshore UK wind factory.
The complaint claims that unique natural habitats in the north-eastern Kaliakra region have been destroyed in the process of building a wind farm. It has been backed by 12 other environmental and civil non-governmental organisations. The environmentalists believe that Kaliakra "is emblematic of how innovations and investment are used to mask criminal encroachment on bio-diversity". The complaint package includes documents, photos and maps showing the damage that the wind farm projects have done to nature.
The government wants 45% of the country's electricity to come from renewables such as wind, hydro, and solar by 2010. And that's just a start. "This challenge will create a new industrial revolution," Portugal's economy minister, Manuel Pinho, told the BBC. ...The campaigners are torn between their concern about climate change and their love for the wildlife. "We should have renewable power but not at any price," Joao says.
Britian's biggest conservation charity, the Royal Society fir the Protection of Birds, announced Wednesday (February 20) that is was about to start issuing maps of important bird-flight routes in the North of England to help planners decide the future sites of wind farms. The first map will cover Cumbria with others on Morecambe Bay and the Lancashire coast to follow. ... We could get these monsters in the Dales because we are ordered to have them by the European Union. Its bureaucrats never listen to what people say because they consider us a mere nuisance. But they do pay attention to the environmentalists. With a bit of luck, the RSPB will say that these plans would cause too much bird kill - and we Dalesfolk could be saved!
Wildlife experts have urged wind farm developers in Cumbria to be more aware of the potential risk to wild birds. The RSPB has issued a planning guide, which highlights areas that are home to species like the pink footed goose, whooper swan and hen harrier. The organisation said the move was prompted by the proliferation of wind turbine planning applications.
We add our support to all who believe that the government should not approve the proposed Lewis wind power development. The impact of such a development on landscape, wildlife and community interests would not be justified. We believe it is time for the Scottish Government to address some fundamental questions over Scotland's energy strategy. ...The government has time to pause before granting any more wind farm approvals, to ask whether it simply wants to carry on the policies of previous governments, or whether it wants to demonstrate a better way forward for wind energy development. New criteria, set by the government, are needed to define the type of landscape within which modern turbines can be accommodated, along with height limits. We cannot depend on simply excluding such large industrial structures from the areas designated for their wildlife and landscape value and their surrounding mountains and moorlands. A new approach is needed in which a world-class energy policy has due regard for a world-class landscape, throughout Scotland.
Economic growth will be jeopardised if plans for a massive wind farm on the Western Isles are rejected, Scottish Chamber of Commerce has claimed. Chief executive Liz Cameron is to meet Enterprise Minister Jim Mather to voice worries that the Scottish Government is minded to turn down Lewis Wind Power. She said there had been "over-zealous" interpretation of European designations designed to protect the environment.
A controversial plan to build a wind farm on a sensitive habitat near the Pentland Hills was thrown out by councillors yesterday. Energy company E.ON UK wanted to build 18 turbines on a raised bog at Auchencorth Moss near Penicuik, but the scheme attracted about 2,400 objections and opposition from groups including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Friends of the Pentlands and the Butterfly Conservation Society. Naturalist David Bellamy described the plan as "an act of international vandalism"
Plans for Europe's largest wind farm could still be approved if ministers and environmental agencies can be persuaded to change their interpretation of rules protecting wildlife, councillors in the Western Isles heard yesterday. Ministers indicated last month that they are "minded to refuse" Lewis Wind Power's (LWP) plans for a 181-turbine development on the environmentally sensitive Lewis peatlands, although a final decision has yet to be made. Developers have until 15 February to respond. Following a special meeting of Western Isles Council yesterday, a spokesman for the authority said: "There is determination to do what we can to bring to the Scottish ministers' attention the opportunity that is in danger of being passed up here." ...the council is challenging the government's conclusions and insists the interpretation of environmental rules is too strict. It
The Scottish Government has inflicted the biggest injury on the reputation of Scotland as a place renowned for its natural beauty. The approval of the 68-turbine Griffin wind farm in the heart of Highland Perthshire has sounded the death knell to Perthshire's worldwide reputation as a jewel in the crown of Scotland's scenery. The 68 massive turbines would be seen from every hill and mountain top in the area, including Schiehallion, pictured. ...Why did the people living here not stop this?" The answer is that the Scottish Government listened to the power companies, not the people.
Conwy councillors yesterday voted to oppose a 250-turbine windfarm off the North Wales coast. They also urged the Government to do the same when it rules on the scheme this year. Developers npower Renewables Ltd had reduced the size of its proposed Gwynt y Môr offshore windfarm but Conwy council's Cabinet nonetheless rejected it. The Cabinet also objected to the fact that the final decision would be taken outside Wales. ...Cabinet member Coun Keith Toy said: "I believe decisions about Wales should be made in Wales." The council voted to object to the proposed windfarm and recommend the Government refuses it due to visual impact, scale, siting, noise and possible adverse effect on tourism.
A nationally important Cornish landscape is at risk from a £5 million wind farm, a packed public inquiry heard yesterday. In what could be a landmark case, the hearing was told the plan for turbines at Morwenstow could seriously damage adjoining areas, one designated as of great landscape value and the other an area of outstanding natural beauty. The first day of the appeal, by Crimp Wind Power Ltd against a decision by North Cornwall District Council refusing planning permission, also heard the turbines would threaten the habitat of several rare species of bat. Moira Hankinson, a chartered landscape designer who carried out a visual assessment and audit for North Cornwall District Council said the development would be "entirely out of character with the narrow wooded valleys and winding lanes". She said: "It is a fragile landscape which needs care. ..."
The decision by the Scottish Government to deny planning approval to the giant windfarm on Lewis should be applauded. It is the first glimmer of light in the whole tortuous debate on renewable energy. The previous Labour/Lib-Lab executive had no coherent strategy for wind energy, simply offering lucrative inducements to power companies and land-owners which led to a stampede to erect giant turbines. Hundreds of applications are still in the planning pipeline, many of them in wholly inappropriate locations which would threaten endangered flora and fauna and industrialise some of Scotland's most spectacular landscape. Worse still, by destroying deep peatland, as would have been the case on Lewis, these wind-farms would create more carbon emissions than they would ever save.