RSPB finally gets serious about bird chopping turbines.

Posted: July 21, 2016 by tallbloke in Big Green, Energy, turbines

Red-kite-turbineFrom National Wind Watch:
Credit:  BBC News | 20 July 2016 | www.bbc.co.uk

A former energy minister has claimed “offshore wind in Scotland is pretty much dead” after a legal challenge against four major projects.

A judge upheld RSPB Scotland’s challenge to consent for turbines in the Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay.

Brian Wilson said the charity now “hold all the cards” over the schemes, which were to include hundreds of turbines.

The Scottish government said it remained “committed” to renewable energy but wanted to study the ruling.

The four projects – Inch Cape, Neart na Gaoithe and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo – were approved by Scottish ministers in October 2014, and could power more than 1.4 million homes.

RSPB Scotland lodged a legal challenge, saying the turbines could have “serious implications” for wildlife, and argued that the government had breached legal requirements when making the original decision by not giving proper consideration to this.

Judge Lord Stewart ruled in favour of the charity, calling the consents “defective”, meaning ministers will have to reconsider the planning decisions and address the points put forward by the RSPB’s lawyers.

‘Serious setback’

Former Labour MP and UK energy minister Mr Wilson, a longtime critic of the SNP’s energy policy, said the legal challenge was an “extremely serious setback”.

He said: “On the face of it, offshore wind in Scotland is pretty much dead. The RSPB now hold all the cards.

“They were forced into this comprehensive action because the Scottish government delayed consent and then clustered these four wind farms together, so the RSPB went to court on the basis of cumulative impact.

“What they have to decide is if they want to kill all four schemes or prepare to take a more balanced view, but the ball is in the RSPB’s court without a doubt.”

Mr Wilson said only the Neart na Gaoithe project had access to subsidies, and as such had been the only one likely to go ahead in the near future, and blamed the Scottish government for not dealing with the case more quickly.

He said: “They took five years to determine that application. They then delayed it further until after the independence referendum to avoid any controversy, and by that time three other applications had stacked up, and they consented all four together.

Comments
  1. tom0mason says:

    Hurrah!
    RSPB is finally getting the message — windmill is industrialization of the countryside. Industrialization that is killing the native birds and bats in massive numbers every day.
    What is the cost of so much loss of the county’s avian life?
    Can it be measured merely in currency?
    Or soon will future generations learn that among those stuffed animals in museums, are the remains of the extinct birds that used to fly free over the country, free before massive windmills wiped them from the planet. Wiped-out because of government ‘Green’ policies.

  2. A C Osborn says:

    At last the RSPB does what it is supposed to do.
    But why didn’t it do it for land based Turbines and will it now act retrospectively.
    massive fines should be handed out to Wind Farm owners for any dead protected species near their wind farms.

  3. thefordprefect says:

    om0mason says: July 21, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Hurrah!
    RSPB is finally getting the message — windmill is industrialization of the countryside. Industrialization that is killing the native birds and bats in massive numbers every day.
    What is the cost of so much loss of the county’s avian life?

    ———————

    Hi
    I would be very interested to see genuine research showing the number of wind turbine induced bird and bat fatalities.

    I am in full agreement with RSPB vetoing turbines in inappropriate places.

  4. Glenn999 says:

    If they were really “green” they would care for birds.

  5. Coal power kills a lot more birds than wind power, and cats kill a lot more birds than coal power. Perhaps solve the Cat & Coal power problems first? Then think of way to generate wind power with reduced bird deaths, rather than just killing the wind power industry?

  6. thefordprefect says:

    No response – so what does the rspb say:

    This spring’s casualties are only the second white-tailed eagle and third osprey thought to have been killed by wind turbines in Scotland. When the first white-tailed eagle fatality happened in 2014 we wrote about the perils these majestic birds face. Much of what we said then still applies today: as numbers of these birds increase, and their range spreads, the chances of individual eagles dying accidentally through collision or electrocution increases greatly. In Scotland, more eagles have collided with trains and power lines than with wind turbines and this is similar to patterns of population increase and mortality in other countries. We have much less information on the causes of death for ospreys, though satellite tracking has shown that around half of all osprey mortality occurs during the long-distance migration to Spain, Portugal and West Africa.

    By contrast, persecution, including illegal killing, is still the key factor limiting the population size and range of red kites in parts of Scotland, and especially hen harriers in many parts of Scotland and England. The RSPB is leading a 5-year EU LIFE+ project to protect hen harriers across northern England and southern and eastern Scotland. A national survey this year will show by how much and where things have changed since previous surveys in 1988, 1998, 2004 and 2010.

    Although persecution is unarguably the biggest problem faced by hen harriers in the UK as a whole, the sheer scale of its impact means that other pressures have a disproportionately high effect. This is why the Perthshire hen harrier probably gives the most cause for concern out of these recent incidents – particularly as it has been reported from the same windfarm as three previous hen harrier casualties. Unlike the windfarms where the osprey, white-tailed eagle and red kite were found, the Perthshire site is located on a former forestry plantation that was felled to make way for the turbines. This has led RSPB Scotland to take a more precautionary approach to applications to develop wind farms on forestry sites close to breeding hen harriers, for example at Strathy South, in the Flow Country, where hen harriers are one of a number of species of concern and as a result we have objected to the proposal in the strongest possible terms, including presenting our case to a public inquiry in spring 2015.

    The concentration of hen harrier casualties at a single site is concerning and puzzling, especially as we’re aware of only one other possible hen harrier casualty at a wind farm in Scotland. We are therefore working with the site operators, SSE, to try and identify why there seems to be a particular problem at Griffin windfarm so that action can be taken as soon as possible to reduce the risk of further collisions. These unfortunate incidents also reinforce the need for reliable and targeted monitoring of windfarms after construction and once they are operating if we are to understand whether there are factors that might make some sites or even individual turbines more risky than others. If so, there will be increasing opportunities, as the current windfarm estate across Scotland is replaced or “repowered” (old windfarms replaced with newer ones that through having a greater output or being more efficient increase the power generated), to apply monitoring and research results to reducing the impacts and risks of wind energy developments on threatened species such as hen harriers.

    The operators of the sites where these dead raptors were found have taken a very open, honest and prompt approach to analysing and reporting the casualties, which is very welcome. In general, Scotland’s wind energy sector has taken a very positive approach to trying to avoid harm to wildlife and seeking to resolve problems when they arise. As a result, incidents like this remain, thankfully, very rare but continued collaboration will be essential if we are to ensure onshore wind continues to develop in Scotland with minimum impact on wildlife.

  7. You still have to wonder about the utility of generating systems that produce power erratically at best and are prone to both catastrophic failure and ridiculous maintenance expenses. Nor are hazards to health treated as serious, although vibration is still as poorly understood as when Nikolai Tesla was researching the topic.http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/2011/infrasound-the-hidden-annoyance-of-industrial-wind-turbines-france/

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