Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from Europe
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'. ...
"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.
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."
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.
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.
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?
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.
Environment minister Mike Russell has denied that Scottish Natural Heritage caved in to political pressure to withdraw its objection to a wind farm in west Caithness. The rebuttal came as a prominent local ornithologist claimed that an internationally important flock of geese would be endangered if the 21-turbine development on farmland near Westfield got the go-ahead. The controversial application lodged by Baillie Wind Farm Limited is the subject of a special Highland Council planning hearing in Halkirk on Tuesday. Mr Russell was challenged about the surprise removal of SNH's long-standing objection. ..."SNH have a stack of reports done by Stan of the area covered by the wind farm but none of that material appears to have been used to base their decision to withdraw its objection," Mr Craig said. "This is independent data verified over the years by an expert and they have chosen to ignore it - I think that is appalling."
Objectors have pledged to "vigorously oppose" the planned £75 million 20turbine Davidstow community wind farm plan - despite major changes to the scheme aimed at appeasing protestors.Community Windpower Ltd says it has now redesigned the wind farm proposals planned for Davidstow Woods as a result of earlier consultation with the community. ..."Our initial reaction is that these revisions would reduce neither the proliferation of wind turbines in North Cornwall, nor the adverse effect which these huge machines would have on the local landscape and wildlife."
Councillors have agreed to allow a Caithness renewable energy company to continue gathering wind data – but insisted on a special condition to protect birdlife. ...The condition aimed at safeguarding birdlife was suggested by Councillor David Bremner, Landward Caithness, who found support when he suggested that inspection of the bird deflectors on the mast should take place on a weekly basis as opposed to the three-month period suggested by the planning service. Mr Bremner said: "I am no expert but there is quite a lot of activity in that area, particularly when the whooper swans are migrating. I don't think it would be unreasonable to ask for a more rigorous condition."
The government's conservation watchdog has been accused of putting wildlife and wild places at risk by preparing to relax its defences against development. Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is under fire from environmental groups and insiders for allowing plans for a coal mine and wind farms to go ahead, despite the damage they could do to rare birds and peat bogs. Critics warn that a review of corporate strategy being led by SNH chairman Andrew Thin could result in more damaging developments being given the go-ahead. Fears have been fuelled by a recent interview in which Thin said he was neither a conservationist nor an environmentalist.
THE COMPANY behind plans to build a massive windfarm in Shetland intends to wait until next summer before submitting a planning application to allow a second study of the islands' peatlands. Viking Energy had initially hoped to have already submitted its planning documents, but the huge number of responses to a public consultation scuppered the company's timetable. ...During the initial consultation in spring this year, many local residents were concerned about the amount of peat which would have to be cleared to erect up to 192 turbines, each measuring up to 145 metres in height. There were also worries that disturbing the sensitive peat habitat could pollute burns and inshore waters.