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Energy chiefs ditch wind-farm plan to safeguard golden eagles  

A wind-farm proposal has been abandoned because the area where it was to be built is used by golden eagles and red kites.

Perth-based Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has confirmed it will not proceed with its proposal to build 20 turbines at Glen Tarken, near Comrie.

The decision followed analysis of bird-survey data gathered over several years, and consultation with local RSPB officers, which showed that the 30Mw wind farm would pose a significant risk to the birds.

Dr Brian Smith, SSE’s head of projects, said: “The development of more wind farms in Scotland is vital if we are to maintain secure supplies of power and tackle the huge risks to our country posed by climate change. But each potential site must be considered on its merits, and be the subject of detailed scrutiny.

“Our work has shown that a wind farm at Glen Tarken would not be sufficiently compatible with other environmental concerns, and so we have decided not to progress this further.”

Anne McCall, head of planning and development for RSPB Scotland, said the building of sensibly located renewable-energy developments was an important means of tackling climate change. But she added: “That SSE has resolved not to develop on this environmentally sensitive site is enormously welcome and is an approach we commend to all those involved with the renewables industry.”

Jared Wilson, the RSPB’s conservation officer for Tayside and Fife, said it was not known how many birds use the area, but there was concern about the potential impact of the development.

“There has been a lot of activity in the area with quite a few birds hunting adjacent to the wind-farm site and both species breed fairly close to the area as well.

“These are both such iconic species so the developers obviously listened hard to our views that the area was important for the birds.”

He said the decision may have implications for other planned wind farms: “I hope that the conservation and bird interests will play a part in developers deciding whether to pursue individual sites or not.

“If unsuitable areas can be dropped early on in the process, it will benefit everyone, as it will save a lot of time, effort and money.”

SSE was recently given approval for a £30 million 16-turbine wind farm at Drumderg, near Alyth, by the Scottish Executive following a public inquiry. More than 700 people had objected to the proposal.

But plans for a 24-turbine wind farm at Abercairny, near Crieff, were rejected by the Executive because of concerns that it could damage the environment.

RSPB Scotland has previously raised concerns about two proposed wind farms in Skye due to the potential collision risk of golden eagles.

The birds’ traditional territories and nesting places are usually found in open moorland and mountains and may be used for generations.

The red kite was extinct in Scotland until 16 years ago, when it was reintroduced. Earlier this year it was reported that there are now 76 pairs, the highest number since the early 1800s – with nesting sites gradually spreading to areas where they were once common.

Wind-farm opponents also claim that the birds could be killed by turbine blades.

By John Ross

scotsman.com

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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