Thursday, 18 June 2015

Nocton Fen Wind Farm - ecology


Bats are protected by Law

In Britain all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation.

Preliminary Environmental Information - Chapter 8 - Ecology

The 'Preliminary Environmental Information' (PEI) is a large piece of work by any standard and it takes a long time to work through it. To view the separate parts of the report online click here.

I have just finished Chapter 8 and with a few extracts from background reading, my observations and thoughts are as follows:

It is important to acknowledge that Vol 3: Appendix 8.G clearly shows bats being recorded at most turbine representative locations during the field survey.

Many bat populations across the world are already in decline. Given there is international acceptance that bats are killed by turbines and that bats are protected by Law, it is surprising that any loss is deemed acceptable.

Despite mitigation measures being implemented, there will be always be bat fatalities through collision and barotrauma with wind turbines. Bat fatalities tend to peak at wind facilities in late Summer/early Autumn, with a smaller spike in Spring.

I am not aware of any UK post-construction bat surveys yet available to provide evidence of how many bats are killed due to the building of wind turbines, nor why this independent research has not been implemented. However, studies from Sweden suggest that bat populations there will decline by as much as 30-50% by 2020 if the rate of wind turbine development continues at its current pace.

It is therefore not acceptable to just apply a 'Not Significant' classification such as that highlighted in Chapter 8: Table 8.9: Summary of Residual Effects (Page 8-62).

Bat Conservation Trust

'If a bat survey demonstrates that bats and/or a known roost are likely to be affected by the proposed development and planning permission is to be granted:
  • A condition should be placed on the decision notice requiring the developer to apply for, and obtain, a European Protected Species Licence before work commences.'

A review of the impacts of onshore wind energy development on biodiversity

'Our results indicate that onshore wind energy construction and operation can have significant negative effects on local and regional biodiversity.'

Wind turbines and bats: assessment of conflict between wildlife conservation and green energy production

'There is virtually no evidence available about the potential effects of these installations on wildlife. Yet construction has increased dramatically over the last two years, reflecting technological advances and alterations to subsidy schemes.'

Brief Summary of recent International Research on the Risk to Bats from Wind Turbines

Other news

Earlier end to subsidies for new UK onshore wind farms

'New onshore wind farms will be excluded from a subsidy scheme from 1 April 2016, a year earlier than expected.'

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