A NEW map is published today showing areas where wind farms pose a threat to the welfare of native birds.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds will present the map to the British Wind Energy Association conference in Glasgow, in the hope developers will avoid the most sensitive sites.
The risk to birds is one of the issues considered when planning a wind farm, due to the possibility of loss of habitat, collisions and displacement because of disturbance.
Last week, Scottish and Southern Energy dropped plans for a wind farm in Perthshire because the area is inhabited by golden eagles and red kites.
RSPB Scotland has also raised concerns about two proposed wind farms on Skye, because of golden eagles, and is objecting to proposals for huge wind farms on Lewis, claiming that they would harm the peatlands and bird life.
The report says that with a reluctance to site wind farms close to populated areas, many are earmarked for the uplands.
The reports adds: “Scotland’s upland habitat supports many important populations of birds, and this, combined with the negative effects wind farms can have on birds, leads to potential conflict.”
According to the map, the Highlands, Western Isles and Northern Isles are the areas most threatened by development.
In all, 37 per cent of the area on the map is classified as “high sensitivity”, 31 per cent as “medium” and 32 per cent as “low/unknown sensitivity”.
Anne McCall, the head of planning for RSPB Scotland, said: “We are optimistic that this timely research offers both local authorities and developers the kind of information that will ensure decisions can be made sensibly and swiftly.”
By John Ross
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