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Call for tough line on wind farms  

A petition is calling on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) to push for wind farm developments to be suspended in the UK.

Internet lobby group Proact, which co-ordinates wildlife campaigns, said it has collected 3,248 signatures.

Proact’s David Conlin said the society does not go “far enough” in opposing wind developments.

The RSPB said it will respond to the petition, but added that it deals with farm proposals on a case by case basis.

The society has made comments on various schemes, including plans to erect more than 200 turbines in Lewis, the Western Isles.

‘Sensitive areas’

Mr Conlin said there are concerns among birdwatchers about the impact large scale wind farms have on birds and other wildlife.

He added that there was support, however, for renewable energy schemes perceived to be less damaging to the environment.

“While welcoming the concern that the RSPB has demonstrated and the many objections it has lodged about proposals for the erection of wind farms in some sensitive areas, we believe that the RSPB’s stance on the core of the wind farm debate does not go far enough,” he said.

Anne McCall, head of planning and development at RSPB Scotland, confirmed the charity had received the petition.

She said: “We haven’t responded yet. We will consider their petition in terms with what we do.”

The planning chief said the RSPB believed climate change a major issue and that in general the renewables industry was “fairly receptive” to calls to protect wildlife.

However, she said proposals for 234 in Lewis continued to give it cause for concern.

“The area is full of birds and heavily protected by law. The Lewis proposal is the largest wind farm development in the UK on shore at the moment,” she said.

RSPB Scotland has expressed fears for birds such as golden eagles and red-throated divers.

‘Lower effects’

Lewis Wind Power – set up by engineering group Amec – have said the development will create hundreds of jobs as well as 702 megawatts of energy.

Director David Hodkinson told BBC Scotland’s news website that a revised design for the wind farm was being finalised.

He said: “For our proposed development in north Lewis, where RSPB is rightly demanding the highest standard of risk assessment, we have conducted some of the most extensive environmental studies seen.

“These studies focus on the likely effects on the important bird populations found in Lewis, building on five years of field survey work and evidence from other operating wind farms.

“We are now finalising a revised design for the Lewis Wind Farm that we feel would deliver the same major economic benefits for the Western Isles as our original proposal, with lower predicted environmental effects.”

bbc.co.uk

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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