Birdlife Cyprus has expressed concern for the safety of millions of birds after the government last week announced the licensing of 23 wind farms across the island.
The organisation’s manager, Martin Hellicar told the Mail that there are plans for 505 turbines in total at a cost of several million pounds.
“Most will be in Larnaca due to the town’s topography and geographical location,” he explained.
“BirdLife Cyprus is not opposed to wind power per se. But in the current drive to put up wind farms in various parts of our small island, tremendous caution must be exercised in choosing suitable locations for the turbines.”
He said that if the location of the turbines is not right, then the adoption of wind power becomes a dangerous case of sacrificing biodiversity in a bid to halt global warming.
“They can massacre birds, who are very bad at avoiding them, especially in foggy conditions,” Hellicar said.
The government body charged with protecting Cyprus’ birds, the Game Fund, has, in consultation with BirdLife Cyprus, prepared a detailed map showing the key migration routes followed by birds of prey and other migrants as they flood across Cyprus every Autumn and Spring.
“Cyprus is a major migration stopover point for 250 million birds, made up of 150 species. Many are threatened on a pan-European level and are protected under the EU Birds Directive.”
One of the main corridors birds use for migration, the Ayios Theodoros valley in the Larnaca district, has five wind farms planned.
BirdLife Cyprus has identified 19 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Cyprus that are key habitats.
Both IBAs and the major migration paths should be declared complete no-go areas for wind farms, says BirdLife.
“We believe the wind farms to pose a definite risk but we need to know their exact locations from the relevant authorities,” Hellicar concluded.
Wind power is a source of clean, emission-free energy that can help reduce releases of the heat-absorbing greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, that are dangerously altering our climate, creating heatwaves, droughts and hurricanes on a more frequent basis and raising sea levels.
By Leo Leonidou
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