Friday 2 August 2013

Wind Turbines

OK i know its only one bird but the White Throated Needle Tailed Swift a rare bird to the UK from Siberia was killed by a wind turbine in the Outer Hebrides the other week. It is NOT an isolated incident. With the proposed wind farm in Shetland its worth looking at some information on the subject.

Scotland has at present 1400 wind turbines but these only produce 20% of total electricity for Scotland. When the wind drops or stops the turbines stop generating. You might think that in Shetland the wind never stops blowing and you would be wrong.

Its not just the visual impact, the turbines are very noisy, generating levels of noise compared to a jet plane taking off. Even the so call small domestic wind turbines produce noise like an un-silenced pneumatic drill. So what would it be like living near by !!!

People go to Shetland for the beautiful landscapes and wildlife, which provide a better quality of life, provide inspiration and refreshment as well as enjoyment. It can reaffirm a persons identity. The John Muir Trust did a recent poll and highlighted that 43% of the people in Britain visit scenic places for their beauty and would be less likely to visit if they had wind turbines. The Net economic benefit of wildlife tourism is £65 Million.

What about else where

In the America the US Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that 440, 000 birds are killed each year with collisions with wind turbines and by 2030 this number would increase to one million birds as the number of turbines increases.

In Spain, the Spanish Ornithological Society in Madrid estimate that between 1 - 18 million birds & bats die each year, hitting the turbines. Over 100 Griffin Vultures are killed each year as they migrate over the Strait of Gibraltar.
                                                                     Griffin Vulture

On one Norwegian island , Smole which has 68 turbines, 9 White Tailed Sea Eagle have been killed in 10 months, and the breeding population has reduced from 19 pairs to 1 pair. In 5 years 40 White Tailed Eagles have been killed on the island.
                                                  White Tailed Eagle over Fitfull Head

In February 2012 UK planning laws now mean that bat and bird assessments must be conducted as part of the application process, The suggested area for the wind turbines in Shetland covers important breeding areas for Red Throated Diver, Artic Skua, Merlin , Golden Plover and Whimbrel which are all protected and declining birds.
                                                             Artic Skua - Central Mainland

Once they are erected the landscape will be destroyed, less people will want to travel to Shetland, often considered to be the UK last wilderness and the bird populations beyond recovery. The RSPB are pro- renewable energy and appose about 6% of all applications, they are against sites that have rare breeding birds or on a migration routes, both of which refer to the whole of the Shetland islands.

It is hoped that further reduction to the proposed 103 wind turbines may occur once they have gone through a further 12 weeks of consultation. The islands are too small to support such a large number of turbines

Check out the links below for further information : - Shetland News No more room for large wind farms The Scottish Wild Land Group  - Terrible death of a bird being hit by turbine blade

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