Call for wind turbine bird protection rules

Scottish scientists are calling for new national guidelines to be put in place to protect birds and bats from domestic wind turbine developments.

Researchers at Sterling University’s school of natural science found protection for wildlife is widely lacking in some areas where no ecological survey is required during the planning stages.

The study, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, focused on the variations in the planning process between different local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales.

It concludes that with such major differences in the level of consideration given protecting birds and bats from the effects of wind turbines, a new set of national guidelines are now required.

Dr Kirsty Park, the study’s lead author, told the BBC: “Micro-turbines are fast becoming a common sight within the UK and elsewhere in Europe and the United States.

“However, in spite of rapid growth in numbers, there has been little study of their possible impact of wildlife, which could include collisions of birds and bats with turbines, or disturbance effects.

“The potential wildlife impacts of small wind turbines are ranked of lower importance by many planning officials than visual or noise concerns.”