Library filed under Impact on Wildlife from UK

Taming of the landscape comes sharply into focus

The remote plantations some 10 miles south of Strathy village are now dominated by a couple of tall anemometer masts; there are few places in the Far North where you can get away from the threat of wind farms, big or small. There are currently 20 wind farms going through the planning process in Caithness and north Sutherland. Enjoy these wild places while you can: if the turbines go up, yet another of our landscapes will be tamed and industrialised. I had to walk right under one of the masts to gain the main Strathy track; the bothy, much appreciated by those who like really out-of-the-way spots, will be in the heart of the proposed wind farms. But as of now it is still as quiet and secluded a place as any. At night there is just untamed wind and starlight, and you are at least four miles from the nearest other person. Rattling showers passed, leaving clear starry skies. I enjoyed a candlelit fireside meal and had an early night. The strong westerlies should give me an easy ride home on the morrow!
10 Jan 2007

Bird charity blow to wind farm plan

The RSPB is objecting to a controversial plan to build the West’s biggest wind farm next to the Bristol Channel, we can reveal. Experts from the bird charity are unhappy with the proposal for nine 110m (361ft) turbines at West Hinkley, beside Hinkley Point nuclear power station. They say more work should be done on the wind farm’s possible impact on nearby birds in the Severn estuary, especially shelduck, ringed plover and curlews.
10 Jan 2007

Bird campaigners come out against Hinkley turbines

Controversial plans to erect giant wind turbines in West Somerset have suffered a dramatic setback after the influential Royal Society for the protection of birds has come out against the scheme at Hinkley Point. It’s the first time the influential organisation has objected to a proposed wind farm in the South West. Richard Archer, conservation officer for the RSPB in Somerset, told the County Gazette: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly, as we are generally in support of schemes to reduce our carbon footprint and combat global warming.”
10 Jan 2007

What role do RSPB, NGOs play in the windfarm planning consent process?

The RSPB argues that it supports the use of wind power in general as long as projects are sited, designed and managed so they do not significantly harm birds or their habitats. Concerns on this score have led the RSPB to object to 76 windfarm proposals (on and offshore) between 2000 and 2004 and to raise concerns about a further 129. (It does not indicate how often it has decided to raise no concerns). In raising objections, the RSPB would argue that it is simply exercising its legal rights and representing its one million members to ensure that planning decisions are made with due consideration for the environmental impacts - the Lewis peat bogs, for example, are designated as of European importance under the Conservation of Wild Birds Directive and have the highest populations of dunlin and golden plover in Europe. Windfarm developers would argue that the biggest threat to bird populations remains global warming and that perhaps the RSPB has its priorities wrong.
9 Jan 2007

Bats delay plan for wind turbine

A HOTEL owner is being driven batty by planning delays for a wind turbine that could bring green power to his business. Stuart McGlynn, who owns the Norwood Hotel, Whalley Road, Accrington, hopes to place a small turbine on the side of his detached house, behind the hotel. But the possibility that a bat population may be roosting nearby has put a temporary halt to the plans until a wildlife survey is carried out.
28 Dec 2006

Wind-farm firm rejects claims it has broken EC wildlife rules

The company behind controversial plans to site the world’s largest onshore wind farm in the Western Isles last night strongly denied that pressing ahead with the project would breach European rules on protecting wildlife. Lewis Wind Power (LWP), which is jointly owned by Amec and British Energy, was reacting to claims that the European Commission could rule that the proposal broke its conservation laws as other sites across Scotland had not been considered for the massive project. Wildlife campaigners yesterday argued that European directives, which are binding on member states, require developers of wind farms to look at options across the country, not just in the Western Isles. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in Scotland said that the plan to build 181 turbines in Lewis was covered by these rules and, therefore, that the Scottish Executive, which will have the final say, should not give it the go-ahead.
18 Dec 2006

Lewis wind farm suffers blow from EU

Plans to build the world’s biggest onshore wind farm on the Western Isles could be thwarted by European officials, who believe they breach laws protecting sensitive wildlife habitats. The European commission believes that proposals to build more than 180 turbines on Lewis are flawed, because developers have failed to assess other less sensitive sites across Scotland. The Lewis turbines, each more than 460ft high, would stretch for more than 25 miles through peatland protected under European Union conservation laws. The area is home to eight species of Europe’s most endangered birds, including golden eagles, red-throated divers and merlin.
17 Dec 2006

New twist in windfarm wars

The long-running battle between country folk and government over windfarms took a new twist today as a war broke out between the Scottish Executive and a conservation body which has called for more “green” electricity generation. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and its Scottish branch have in the past angered many rural communities for being outspoken supporters of wind farms - which mainly serve towns and cities but are always located in the countryside. But the Scottish RSPB today issued an outspoken protest about re-designed plans to build the UK’s largest windfarm on the Isle of Lewis, in the Western Isles, which it says is “one of Scotland’s most sensitive and important sites for wildlife.”
12 Dec 2006

Who is the greenest of them all?

On reading the letters in the press, it amazes me to discover how many so-called Greens there are out there who are in favour of industrial wind turbines being put up over our lovely Devon landscape........Anyone who has bothered to analyse the facts and figures will realise they are not economically a viable source of energy and will do next to nothing to cut CO2 emissions. They are not environmentally friendly. They are not really green.
6 Dec 2006

'Outrageous' plan

SIR - As a keen bird watcher, I am a regular visitor to the Knowstone area and was alarmed at the proposal to put up massive wind turbines in the Batsworthy Cross area. The area is totally unsuitable for such a development. Has anyone considered how dangerous these structures would be to drivers on the busy A361? They would be an extremely hazardous distraction at such very close proximity.
6 Dec 2006

Natural concerns about flying into trouble

Save the planet or preserve the planet? It is this dilemma which has caused so much consternation among environmental groups. For many green groups, wind farms are an embodiment of a necessary evil. We must reduce our dependence on dirty fossil fuels, and wind energy is a clean alternative – seen by many as preferable to nuclear power, with its questionable safety reputation and problems with waste disposal. However, there is no doubting that some of the best sites for wind farms – windswept moorland, remote rural areas – are also some of the most ecological fragile. Here wildlife, including some of Scotland’s most threatened species, can have a tentative hold on life. Place a wind farm in its midst and the environmental balance could be affected.
24 Nov 2006

An Open Letter to the Wilderness Society

It may be the time to consider how wind farms fit in with the values which the Wilderness Society represents. If the Society is prepared to go through such a prolonged and worthy fight to save the forests, with all the financial and emotional costs involved, it would be consistent to regard wind farm development with the same scepticism with which it regards the wood chip industry. Both are potent adversaries to the values which I hope we share.
21 Nov 2006

Wind turbines fatal to birds

There are many reasons to reject the building of wind farms anywhere in Britain. A search of the internet provides ample evidence of the environmental destruction of large areas of the countryside through the installation of turbines and infrastructure. Trees and hedges cut down, roads, pylons and electrical wires installed. However, one of our major concerns is the mounting evidence that wind farms are causing the deaths worldwide of tens of thousands of bats and birds, including many endangered species. A wind farm in Germany is being shut down because of the deaths, in particular of red kites.
15 Nov 2006

Fleeing birds upset wind farm plans

Plans for a new £4 million community wind farm on the Shetland island of Yell have been stalled because three pairs of nesting birds abandoned their eggs before they hatched. The North Yell Development Council (NYDC) had hoped to start erecting five 850KW Vesta turbines between the villages of Cullivoe and Gutcher next year.
2 Nov 2006

D-Day looms for wind farm scheme

THE comprehensive landscape reasons for planners recommending the IW Council turn down the controversial Wellow wind farm have been unveiled to the public, ahead of Monday’s planning decision on the scheme. Consultants acting for the IW Council concluded the six turbines, two of which are nearly 110 metres tall, would have significant adverse effects on the protected landscape, nearby homes and rights of way, and insufficient consideration had been given by applicant Your Energy to mitigating adverse effects on the countryside. Insufficient information was provided on the impact of the turbines on bats.
27 Oct 2006

Biggest wind power project is blown off course as residents fight back

Martin Bellis dries himself off with his towel and gives a wry smile when asked if he is not just another Nimby objector looking after his own patch of beach against the potential encroachment of a wind farm near Faversham, Kent. “No, I’m really not. I am a supporter of clean energy and really care for the environment,” he said. “I just happen to think wind is a bit of a white elephant because it’s so inefficient and I cannot understand why anyone would choose one of the best bird sanctuaries in Europe as a site.”
23 Oct 2006

Wind farm legal challenge fails

A bid by a farmer and environmental campaigner to block plans for a wind farm on marshland in Kent has failed. Philip Merricks made the legal challenge arguing that the danger of birds flying into turbine blades had not been taken properly into account. The wind farm site at Walland Marsh is close to a protection area for birds. But Deputy High Court Judge Hamilton said the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, had been entitled to approve the scheme. The judge said the plans had correctly applied EU habitat regulations and had also correctly assessed the risk to bird life.
16 Oct 2006

High Court approves Kent wind farm despite fears for birds

The High Court today cleared the way for a controversial wind farm which opponents say will present a hazard to birds, especially swans. Farmer and award-winning environmental campaigner Philip Merricks attempted to block plans to construct the 26-turbine wind farm at Little Cheyne Court, Walland Marsh, Kent. The site is close to a special protection area for birds. Mr Merricks challenged last October’s decision by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alistair Darling, to approve the scheme. He argued there had been a failure to take proper account of the danger of birds flying into turbine blades. Today Deputy High Court Judge Hamilton rejected the argument and ruled Mr Darling had been entitled on the evidence before him to give his approval.
16 Oct 2006
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