Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

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Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

Annex E: Birds and wildlifebreeding Oystercatchers, Lapwings, BlacktailedGodwits or Redshank from the windfarm 20 .• In a study at Ovenden Moor wind farm in theYorkshire Pennines the number of breedingGolden Plover actually increased over a fiveyear period within the wind farm area incontrast to a control site where numbersremained constant.• At Bryn Titli in mid-Wales, a study showedthat Ravens successfully nested within 60m ofa wind turbine 21 .It should be noted that wind farm developmentsand turbine size so far have been relativelysmall, and that much larger developments arelikely to come forward as the industry matures.This may make it difficult to draw conclusionsfrom these studies for very large projects andmore research may be required.The major potential impact of wind farms onbirds is displacement from the developmentarea caused by the removal of habitat, cautionshown toward physical structures or the effectsof disturbance through human activity or rotornoise or motion. In Denmark, the feedingdistribution of wintering Pink-Footed Geesearound wind farms was studied in detail 22 . Birdskept about 100m away from single or rows ofturbines, and 200m from clusters of turbines.Other structures in the local landscape such ashedgerows, roads and buildings, had similareffects.Variable results have been found for otherspecies of goose. On spring staging grounds inGotland, Barnacle Geese fed as close as 25m towind turbines 23 . A study of the same populationon the wintering grounds in Germany, however,found almost no geese feeding within 350m ofwind turbines and partial displacement up to600m. The different distribution of the foodresources at each site may well be anexplanation for this variation. That is to say thatif birds are hungry and the distribution ofavailable food reserves is in close proximity towind turbines then birds are less likely to bedisplaced than if food is more abundant andwidespread. It seems that displacement is highlyvariable and is species and site specific.There remains a dearth of studies into thedisplacement effects on birds of the onshorewind farms in upland Britain and the scientificknowledge is therefore scant. There is generallymore evidence of displacement of birds aroundwind farms occurring in coastal habitats. Most ofthe examples of such disturbance relate towaterfowl, over distances of up to 800m inwintering birds and 300m in the breedingseason.Mitigation and compensation measuresThere are a number of ways in which theimpacts of wind farm development on birds canbe mitigated. There are a range of optionswhich are not always appropriate to all sites butplanners are able to review the detail withwhich developers have considered themitigation measures for birds within theirproposals from knowledge of these options.Constraints planningPhase 2 of bird monitoring programmes forproposed wind farm developments takes aminimum of a year and reviews bird activitiesthroughout the site across all seasons to takeinto account breeding, migrating and winteringbirds. Throughout there is an iterative processbetween the ornithologists undertaking thesurveys and the developers. Important elementsof those iterations are to review the findings ofthe studies with the wind farm plans. Carefulconsideration can then be given to such issuesas turbine layout before any planningapplication is lodged.158 Wind Power in the UK sustainable development commission

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