Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from UK
New Scientist's report on the large number of bats succumbing to wind turbines reinforces a common misperception - that the blades move slowly (12 May, p4). It is true that the blades of older, small wind turbines rotated rapidly and so would appear to a bird or bat as a semi-solid disc to be avoided. Modern 2-megawatt wind turbines make an apparently lazy 10 to 20 revolutions per minute, but the blades are around 40 metres long. Simple geometry shows that the blade tips travel at between 150 and 300 kilometres per hour. For a bird or bat in misty weather, these aircraft-sized blades appear from nowhere at intervals of between 2 and 4 seconds, a scenario that even a fighter pilot would find alarming.
Bats are being put in danger by the increasing number of wind turbines in Lincolnshire, it has been claimed. Some conservationists have said turbines in the US and Europe have had a serious impact on bat populations. The Bat Conservation Trust has called for talks with the renewable energy industry for more research ahead of more wind farms being built. But the local Green Party dismissed the idea saying there was no evidence impact was significant.
Wind turbines in Barrow's Tesco car park are being blamed for claiming the lives of seagulls. Kamikaze birds have been coming off second best when clashing with the giant rotating blades of the eco-friendly turbines. The Evening Mail's Cornwallis page recently reported the bodies of three dead gulls were found at the foot of one of the towers two weeks ago. Now a Walney man, who did not wish to be named, has told of his surprise after a trip to buy lunch left him and his partner spitting feathers. After stepping out of their car the pair were splattered with freshly killed seagull remains after another hapless bird flew to its death.
Energy giants wanting to string massive pylons through a Highland bird sanctuary based their homework on "scant information," according to a leading naturalist. Sir John Lister-Kaye, director of the Aigas field centre at Strathglass, yesterday told the public inquiry into Scottish and Southern Energy's planned Beauly-Denny transmission line upgrade he was "dismayed" the company had failed to tap into an environmental databank he and his staff had spent 30 years collating. Pointing to a significantly different account of bird flight-paths, the author said the only logical conclusion he could come to was that "the applicants' survey was inadequate". And he said the results suggested the 30 ecologists hired by SSE were "maybe in the wrong place at the wrong time".
MP Alan Whitehead has thrown his weight behind plans to protect Hampshire's marine life and to allow for the development of offshore renewable energy farms. Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead backed proposals for new legislation to halt destruction of the UK's marine environment, including the Solent.
A Shetland businessman says his livelihood is threatened by a windfarm plan. Paul Featherstone rears around 180,000 sea trout smolts annually at his hatchery in Weisdale, which - after having been grown into sizable fish in sea cages - are being sold as organic sea trout to customers throughout the UK. His business, Shetland Sea Trout Ltd, heavily depends on continually pristine water qualities in the Burn of Weisdale, which feeds the tanks baby fish are being kept in. Yesterday, he said that plans to build around 30 of the 168 turbines planned upstream of his hatchery would "seriously" affect his business. Mr Featherstone's fear is that due to major construction and engineering work the peat bog in the upper half of the Kergord Valley will be destabilised and thus massive peat run offs will flush through the Burn of Weisdale.
Leading ornithologists claimed yesterday that Highland planners had based their approval for a number of windfarms on inadequate environmental data. The warning came from RSPB Scotland which is gravely concerned that, in many cases, insufficient time is allowed to gauge flight paths and breeding patterns of birds as part of essential environmental impact assessments (EIAs).
The MP for Blackpool North and Fleetwood, Joan Humble, has urged the government to consult fishermen about plans to build offshore wind farms. Proposals for 90 turbines off the coast between Blackpool and Cleveleys are currently being discussed. Joan Humble told the Commons the needs of fisherman and the impact it will have on them must be considered. The Trade and Industry Secretary, Alistair Darling, says if people want wind-farms they need to go somewhere. The turbines will be connected to the National Grid and help contribute to government targets on renewable energy. It would mean one of the world's biggest wind farms being clearly visible from the Fylde Coast. But Mr Darling said: "We do need more renewable energy and it is all very well to agree with that but then to come along and say ‘not in my backyard' - we can't proceed on that basis."
RADAR might help to reduce the number of bats being killed by wind turbines, according to new research. Bats are repelled by electro-magnetic radiation emitted from radar installations, scientists at Aberdeen University have found. They believe fitting radar systems to wind turbines might prevent the bats from flying too close to their rotors. The team studied the behaviour of bats at various distances from ten radar installations across Scotland last summer. They found that bats did not forage in areas where high levels of radiation were present.
A Threat to an endangered species of goose brought a windfarm plan crashing to the ground yesterday. The development in Argyll yesterday became one of the first in Britain to be turned down solely because it was claimed it would break European wildlife protection laws. More than 600 letters of objection from all over the world were lodged against Eurus Energy UK's proposal to erect a seven-turbine windfarm at Largie, near Tayinloan, in Kintyre, amid fears that it would pose a threat to protected Greenland white-fronted geese who migrate to the area in winter. The application was turned down by councillors after they received legal advice that to pass it would be contravening a European Court ruling.
The RSPB has re-affirmed its opposition to plans for an 18 turbine Skye windfarm close to the fragile nesting areas of golden eagles. It has informed Highland Council that, unlike Scottish Natural Heritage, it is not satisfied that Amec’s revised environmental impact assessment addresses the potential threat to the species and other protected raptors. It has also reminded planning chiefs that siting a windpark in the area - Edinbane, in the north of the island - would breach its own green energy guidelines because the area is not favoured for such development.
Anti windfarm campaigners on Skye last night threatened legal action in a bid to ensure a long-opposed development on the island would never happen. Opponents of Amec’s Edinbane proposal stated their intent shortly after Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) withdrew its objection to a reduced 18-turbine project. That followed consideration of a fresh consultants’ estimate, commissioned by the developers, of the likely impact on golden eagles within the protected area surrounding the site.
Scottish Natural Heritage yesterday confirmed its objection to a huge wind farm planned for Lewis. SNH board members reiterated their previous view that land covered by special protection area status might be harmed by the development. They also said there was insufficient information to determine the potential impact on birds. Last week, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) voted 18-8 in favour of the plan by Lewis Wind Power, subject to 50 conditions, including the removal of five of the proposed 181 turbines. Because of the scale of the 651-megawatt project, a final decision rests with the Scottish Executive. Meanwhile, SNH has withdrawn its objection to a proposed wind farm at Edinbane on Skye. It follows a public consultation by Highland Council on the latest submission from the developer AMEC, which included an appraisal of the likely effect on golden eagles.
The Uk Government could face a multimillion-pound fine if Scottish ministers allow plans for a massive windfarm on the Western Isles to go ahead, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds warned yesterday. It believes the Lewis Wind Power application for 181 turbines was made without a proper environmental impact assessment. That, it says, would contravene the European Habitats Directive.
Opponents of a huge wind farm planned for the Western Isles have vowed to continue to fight the development after it was approved by councillors. Western Isles Council voted 18 to eight on Thursday in favour of the plan by Lewis Wind Power, subject to 50 conditions, including the removal of five of the 181 turbines earmarked for an area of moorland in north Lewis. Because of the scale of the 651-megawatt project, a final decision rests with the Scottish Executive, although it is unlikely to come before the Scottish elections. RSPB Scotland and some islanders are against the wind farm, and next week the board of Scottish Natural Heritage is expected to reiterate its objection. Anne McCall, RSPB Scotland’s head of planning and development, said: “We have not given up hope, quite the contrary.” RSPB has said the wind farm will have a “devastating impact” on a 6,000-hectare area.
A rare bird will have almost no chance of being struck by the moving blades of proposed wind turbines, according to an expert. The issue of bird collisions with turbines was raised on day 19 of the Humberhead Levels Windfarm inquiry.Stewart Lowther, of Hyder Consulting, was cross-examined about the risk to the birds. In July 2005, English Nature raised concerns there may be a significant effect from the two proposed windfarms in Thorne and Keadby Grange on the nightjar population.
With the envisaged escalation of windfarm developments in the North Sea, the North Sea Regional Advisory Council (NSRAC)has taken the first steps towards producing a set of minimum standards for how the fishing sector and the offshore windfarm industry should consult with each other.But it emerged today that there is already a feeling that fishermen are being consulted too late in the planning process.
The debate intensified yesterday as the deadline passed for responses to the proposal to build 181 wind turbines on the island of Lewis. Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles Council) will almost certainly recommend approval but it will be up to ministers to take the final decision and they will not do so until after the Scottish parliamentary elections in May.
Bats and garden birds are being injured and killed in collisions with domestic wind turbines attached to people’s homes, an environmentalist has warned. John Stoneman, of Cambridgeshire Environmental and Wildlife Protection (CEWP) Welney, has launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of the supposed energy saving turbines, which he claims in fact have very little benefit. Mr Stoneman said the garden was the only sanctuary and refuge available for many diminishing species and he was urging manufacturers of mini turbines to carry out environmental-impact studies. He said: “Bats are already a heavily protected species but they are being put in danger by domestic turbines.
The row over plans to build the world’s biggest onshore wind farm on Lewis intensified yesterday as a leading wildlife group claimed the job boost predictions made by the developer were “misleading and hugely optimistic”. The accusations were levelled against the Lewis Wind Power (LWP) scheme by RSPB Scotland, which has been campaigning to stop the massive renewable energy scheme from going ahead.