Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from Europe
A study involving whooper swans wintering on a Dumfriesshire reserve could have a major impact on new wind farm developments across Scotland. A total of seven birds have been tracked by satellite from Iceland for the BBC's Autumnwatch programme. ...WWT Learning Manager Brian Morrell said the study of migration patterns could help answer a lot of questions. "With a lot of applications for wind farms - up in the Western Isles there's a huge one planned for Lewis - they want to know what route these birds are taking," he said. "Are they going across the area that is going to be earmarked for these wind farm developments?
The Norwegian fish industry fiercely fights goverment plans to build windmill parks at sea. The windmills will hinder fishing and shipping, a fish industry association argues. In its annual conference this weekend, the Norwegian Fishery Association unanimously supported a proposal to fight the development of windmill parks at sea.
This important collaborative document describes the current research on wind energy and the assessment of impacts on nocturnally active birds and bats.
Some 51 per cent of African-Eurasian migratory raptor species have an "unfavourable" conservation status. John O'Sullivan, of Birdlife International, a global alliance of conservation organisations, said: "We have recently heard about the sad case of the golden eagle being poisoned in Scotland, but birds of prey face additional problems trying to settle in networks of suitable habitats along their migration paths. We know little about the status of raptors in Africa, and in Asia species are poorly understood." The main threats to the birds, Mr O'Sullivan said, were habitat loss, illegal hunting, power lines, and wind farm initiatives.
Birds of prey have been hard-hit by a variety of human induced threats including loss of habitat, persecution, illegal shooting and poisoning. Collisions with TV masts and wind turbines and electrocution on power lines have also added to population declines. Birds of prey are not prolific breeders which makes it hard for them to recover from losses and scientists believe that climate change will only add to the problems. Their position at the top of their food chain means they are an excellent indicator of the health of the ecosystem but unless there is an effort across borders and continents to help them their future looks bleak.
The meeting heard Prof Peter Cobbold use the name, Clwyd power station, to describe to more than 200 local residents what is in store for their countryside between now and 2010. He also talked about the changes in local scenery, which he believes will come about if the asssembly plans to generate electricity from wind turbines continues. ..."The significant thing is that not one word was voiced to support wind energy. "If they are so great, why did no one turn up to say so? Nobody wants them; everybody knows they won't close down a single 'dirty' power station; and yet they are foisted on us by an uncaring Government that refuses to listen to us."
FURTHER objections have been made to plans to build four giant wind turbines near Hemsby. The Broads Authority planning committee has joined Hemsby villagers and Ormesby St Margaret parish councillors in voicing its opposition to SLP Energy's scheme for the 125m high turbines. The objections came at its committee meeting last Friday amid concerns about the detrimental impact on the countryside, outweighing the Authority's need to promote green energy. ...the development would also affect the ecology of the area, with large bird and bat populations at the wind farm site in an area known as the Trinity Broads which is bordered by Hall Farm Fen to the north, an area of fen grazing stretching to Hemsby.
"The red squirrel is a protected species and much loved part of our natural heritage. ..."The development of wind farms in the Clocaenog Forest area is particularly worrying given that there is little information as to how such developments, which include tree felling, will affect red squirrel populations.
The international organisation monitoring the global position of cetaceans produced its first national report last month on the state of these creatures around the UK, highlighting the many problems they face. The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), brings together for the first time all current threats facing UK cetaceans, and calls on the government to commit to improving the protection of whales and dolphins and highlights threats and possible remedies. ...one of the greatest concerns - and unknowns - is that of noise pollution. Not only generated from shipping, it results from construction activity in oil and gas fields and a newly expanding activity: offshore wind farms. ..."When in operation, windfarms produce a considerable amount of low frequency noise", the report says.
The Cefn Croes Wind Farm Official Campaign Website http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~hills/cc/index.htm Duration: 3 minutes 13 seconds
Mr Struan Stevenson, Scottish Tory MEP, believes that the renewable schemes would be in contravention of three European Directives and they should be put on hold for further consideration by Brussels. He has branded the plans "disgraceful" and claimed they amount to the rape of one of Scotland's most beautiful wildernesses. Just before the summer recess of the parliament, Mr Stevenson handed over on behalf of the campaign group Save Our Dava a large dossier on the projects to the EC. "By giving it personally to Environment Commissioner Stavos Dimas I am hoping that this will fast-track the intervention of the EC," said the MEP. "It shows how we believe there are prima facie breaches of at least three major European Directives involved with this cumulative project - the Birds Directive; the Planket Peat Bog Directive and the Habitat Directive.
The wind farms will require massive excavation of this ultra-sensitive and increasingly rare area, with consequent disturbance to the fragile ecosystem and hydrology, including the release of damaging gases to the environment. Dava Moor is also an invaluable wildlife corridor, running from the River Spey to the River Findhorn, for a huge array of bird life which will be vulnerable to the wind turbines....The SNP Scottish Executive needs to reassess the renewable energy policies of the previous Labou-led administraton to bring an end to the land-grab that has ensued around Dava Moor and elsewhere in the Highlands.
But then there is the problem of wind turbines. Research in the US and Europe has linked big turbines to bat mortality. In Britain, there has not been enough research yet, but bat conservationists are particularly concerned about micro turbines on houses. "We've had reports of bats killed by micro turbines. It's possible they pose a greater threat because they could be placed right where bats regularly commute," says Williams. "We need to undertake more research. BCT naturally supports all these strategies to reduce energy waste and increase renewables. Our only fear is we don't know what the impacts are on bats and if they go ahead on a large scale before we know, it may be too late."
Environmentalists have warned that the creation of offshore wind farms poses a "potentially devastating threat to whales and dolphins". The report in Saturday's edition of The Independent revealed that the noise during construction, which includes pile driving into the sea bed, could be heard by marine creatures in shallow water up to 80km away and could damage their hearing at close range. It is also claimed by the group, The Conservation of British Cetaceans, the noise could lead to dramatic changes in behaviour at distances of up to 20km.
The growth in offshore wind farms, a central part of the Government's fight against global warming, poses a potentially devastating threat to whales and dolphins, a report said yesterday. Noise during construction - such as pile driving - can be heard by marine creatures in shallow water up to 80km away, damage their hearing at close range and causing dramatic changes to behaviour at distances of 20km. The laying of cables and disturbances caused by service boats means the acoustic impact continues long after the building is over, the Whale and Dolphin Society said. Only five wind farms are in operation in the UK although seven are under construction with 14 more planned. By 2020, offshore wind power is expected to account for 20 per cent of the UK's energy needs.
In the blood of every Briton runs at least a little seawater. We sing of the sea, romanticise our maritime heritage and regard the beach holiday as a nationally affirming birthright. Every year we potter in our millions down to the sea with bucket, spade, snorkel, jet-ski, paperback, shark defence kit and inadequate quantities of suncream. Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside; but we have a strange way of showing it. For the past 300 years or so, we have poisoned and plundered the sea; we have destroyed the seabed, killed the fish and bemired the vast oceans with our waste. We wring our hands at the pollution and devastation we have visited on the land, but because we cannot see what is happening beneath the dark waters surrounding this island we somehow assume it will mend itself...........The Bill is not simply some worthy Magna Carta for beleaguered British fish, since it also sets out clear rules for exploiting the sea by fishermen, oil prospectors, dredgers and energy farmers. The Bill will make it far easier to build and operate offshore wind farms, developments to harness wave power, and schemes for storing carbon emissions from power stations in former oilfields. So far from ducking the issue, as successive governments have done, the marine Bill aims to balance competing interests and face up to the inevitable but not insoluble conflict between exploitation and preservation. But in politics, as at sea, the weather changes quickly. The marine Bill, promised in Labour's manifesto of 2005, was expected to become law within a year, but suddenly it seems to have slipped off the political agenda. Gordon Brown did not even mention marine protection in his summer statement, and the marine Bill is not included in his planned legislative programme for next year. The Bill has been kicked into the long seaweed. It is the big one that got away, again.
Our seas must have proper protection - now! In due course, we shall be organising signature sheets in support of this Marine Bill and hope the people of North Devon will show this new Government that we are as keen to protect creatures living in our oceans as we are to protect our local wildlife and landscapes.
"There's a direct problem with bats and birds of prey, but it's very difficult to get solid knowledge because the people who put the environmental statements together for the wind power developers underplay the situation and underestimate the ornithological and ecological interest in the area. They say, ‘no evidence' but, actually, the evidence hasn't been gathered.
Visitors spend horseback holidays roaming the high moor around Ford Moss Nature Reserve and neighbouring grassland then take beach rides on Holy Island Sands. Many return on a regular basis, like the group of ladies from Cambridgeshire who made a pact several years ago to book the same few days every year. It is part of Ford and Etal Estates and is a good example of a rural diversification enterprise. Dickie Jeffreys, who runs the riding centre with his wife Jane, says: "This is beautiful countryside, totally unspoilt - and it's what our business relies on. The wildlife here is so vivid and real. Can you imagine 360-foot high turbines here? It's an absolute scandal." Ford Moss is a nature reserve where, quite apart from the wildlife, the trees sink into the bog the bigger they get. It's millions of years old - some of the moss found there is unique to the area. Nearby is Routin Lynn, an ancient British settlement with a waterfall said to have magical powers. It is in the care of English Heritage. Mr Jeffreys adds: "It's a very, very special place and it'll be surrounded by inefficient turbines. And, the horses will be terrified - a wind turbine is not a noise they understand, they hate hissing sounds."
A rare bird has been killed after getting caught in the blade of a wind turbine in Stirlingshire. The red kite, one of the rarest birds in the UK, was discovered at the Braes of Doune wind farm near Stirling. Wind farm owner Airtricity said the death had been "unfortunate" and added that it had carried out a risk assessment on the red kite population. This, it said, was done in consultation with other agencies such as the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).