Articles filed under Impact on Wildlife from Europe
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.
Wildlife has temporarily put a stop to plans for wind masts in two rural villages. Electricity company npower Renewables has been told to withdraw planning applications for wind measuring devices at Saxby and Horkstow over concern for birds. Npower must now carry out a bird survey, in order to determine whether the 70ft poles will present a threat to the creatures. The company requested permission to put up the masts last year. The devices measure an area's wind energy and help determine whether it would be a suitable site for wind turbines. But despite the interruption to planning procedures, a spokeswoman for npower Renewables said the company would definitely resubmit the request. "We have had to withdraw the application because the bird survey is likely to take more than eight weeks," she said.
On Lewis the turbines will dominate the shores of many trout lochs, yet Lewis Wind Power's environmental survey makes no mention of the environmental impact on the lochs; it makes no reference to the existence of the lochs at all. The "green lobby" often use terms like "sustainable" to describe the industrial complex that Mr McIver hopes the Barvas Moor would become once the turbines are built. Industrialisation and the current sustainable lifestyle which has protected a unique ecosystem for thousands of years are incompatible, it is impossible for them to work hand in hand ...
The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) has condemned government plans to construct up to 7,000 new wind turbines along the UK coastline. Wind farms pollute habitats through construction, maintenance and noise disturbance, the WDCS claims. The charity added that all developments in the marine environment, including wind farms, should be subject to rigorous environmental assessment before development is permitted.
I was one of the community councillors who asked to go on the wind farm trip in September. I went to see if it proved my thoughts that Shetland could not absorb the visual impact of the Viking Energy project. The simple answer is that it can't - the land mass in Shetland is too small. ...We were advised at this site that the carbon footprint during the construction had been 'massive'. ...
Applause filled the council chamber last week as councillors emphatically rejected plans for a controversial Afan Valley wind farm. Councillors on the planning and development control committee voted to refuse permission for four wind turbines to be built on Mynydd Corrwg Fechan, near Glyncorrwg. Members of the Glyncorrwg Action Group, who had campaigned against the wind farm, packed the public gallery and broke into spontaneous applause as the unanimous decision was announced. ...Head of planning Geoff White said in his report: "This development would create unacceptable impacts upon the character and appearance of the countryside which are not outweighed by the benefits of providing renewable energy."
"Councillors, I believe you have the power to take hundreds of pounds from E.ON or preserve a historic view and environment that generations have and will enjoy. "We must not be overwhelmed by commercial interests today. Our ancestors thought of tomorrow. Let's do the same." ...PEPA representative Dr Tony Trewavas informed the committee that 2402 written objections had been submitted regarding the proposed wind farm. Around 1300 were from Penicuik residents with others from the Scottish Borders and others who had moved away from the area. Objections had also been lodged by Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Borders Council, Historic Scotland, West Linton and Howgate Community Councils, the Esk Valley Trust, Friends of the Pentland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
Wind farms can cause environmental damage, MSPs are being told at a committee. A retired university professor says the mechanical vibrations transmitted through land-based turbines to the surrounding terrain cause the problem. Prof Dixie Dean, a former business professor who has also worked in the field of mycology, says the impact will "devastate" the sand, soil and peat in the immediate area. He claims that the problem has been "completely overlooked" in a submission to Holyrood's Petition's Committee. His petition states: "These vibrations will in time destroy the very fabric of peat, sand and soil for miles around.
Renewable energy is the way ahead but not through "grossly inefficient" wind farms which gobble up Scottish Government subsidies, it has been claimed. A new group formed to fight the latest wind farm proposal for Moray aims to galvanise community opposition to the plan. Save Our Scenic Moray (SOS Moray) has been created in Dufftown to try and repel a proposal for a 70-plus turbine development at Dorenell Farm, Cabrach. The action group was formed three weeks ago following public exhibitions by developer Infinergy on the wind farm development on the Glenfiddich Estate.
If the 2010 target of reducing CO2 emissions was achievable, which the UK government now admits is impossible, it would have been responsible for saving a ridiculously paltry 0.0003 or four 10 thousandths of all world emissions. And the reason for this failure is plain to see - the wrong technology, that of wind power, has been used. It just cannot deliver any significant saving on emissions, not without plastering the whole country with massive turbines - a 400ft turbine is 20 times the height of a 20ft lamp-post. ...The saving of emissions, we are told, is the main reason for having these turbines in the first place. We look forward to any responses from those Welsh politicians who seem obsessed with the pursuit of this near-useless technology.
Offshore wind farms cost significantly more to build and maintain than their onshore equivalent. And because they involve new and untested technology they also suffer from "first of a kind" costs. But the industry is confident that those costs will fall over time. It is difficult to compare the cost of electricity obtained from a wind farm rather than a conventional energy source like gas. This is because it involves assumptions about future construction costs, the cost of carbon emissions, and the cost of gas. However, right now offshore wind farms are significantly more expensive than thermal generation and require a government subsidy to make them economic.
The pylons would form part of the upgrading of the power link between north and south Scotland. Extra electricity from new wind farms being built in the Highlands must be transmitted to power users in cities in the south. Scottish and Southern Energy says the £320m upgrade - on the line between Beauly, near Inverness, and Denny, near Stirling - would consist of 600 pylons, 40 to 64 metres high, with a section going through Cairngorms National Park. The idea has horrified landowners, wildlife groups and walkers: 18,000 people have formally objected to the Beauly-Denny plan. ...should Britain's commitment to renewable energy take precedence over its need to preserve its wild places?
Business Secretary John Hutton says he wants to open up British seas to allow enough new turbines - up to 7,000 - to power all UK homes by the year 2020. He acknowledged "it is going to change our coastline", but said the issue of climate change was "not going away". The thrust of the idea was backed by Tory Alan Duncan: "We're an island nation. There's a lot of wind around." ...The other choice was, he said, whether it was "easier to have these developments offshore rather than onshore". Asked what would happen if there was no wind for a few days, Mr Hutton said that was why there had to be a mix of energy sources - including nuclear power - to cover for calmer weather periods.
Planners have recommended councillors do not oppose a proposed wind farm which has sparked concerns for wild geese and archaeological sites. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has objected to the 21-turbine scheme at Shebster, near Thurso. Historic Scotland said it would have an "unacceptable adverse impact" on ancient sites including cairns. The Scottish Government is consulting local Highland councillors, who will hold a hearing on Tuesday.
Remember that the threat to birds is a very small (but highly significant) part of the whole Shetland windfarm issue. If we include the negative effects on tourism, house prices, visibility, noise, quality of life, peat disturbance, run-off, environmental quality, Shetland's wilderness - as well as debatable CO2 savings, the need for 90 per cent fossil fuel back up due to intermittence and the doubling of the price of electricity (Denmark experience) it is hard to understand how the project has got past first base. Last week at PM questions, an English MP succinctly summed up the situation with windfarms. He said 'windfarms are being opposed by local people but being imposed on them by the authorities'. This is exactly what is happening in Shetland. It has to be stopped.
Shetland holds almost half of Britain's breeding red-throated divers. A survey of breeding red-throated divers in Shetland, carried out in 1994, found only 389 breeding pairs, a 40 per cent decline since the previous full survey in 1983. Shetland holds approximately1.5 per cent of the British breeding population of merlins, approximately 20 pairs. Consultation is on going to reduce the impact of the development especially on the breeding red-throated divers, which are considered to be particularly liable to collision with wind turbines. ...In the words of the RSPB: "The RSPB views climate change as the most serious threat to birds and their habitats, and sees renewable energy as one way to alleviate this threat. However, it would be entirely self defeating to advocate building wind farms right in the middle of our most important wildlife areas." ...Anybody that thinks developments like this are acceptable obviously don't care less about the wildlife and natural environment around them.