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Death of buzzard in turbine blades heighten windfarms concern

A shocked busload of nuclear workers witnessed the death of a buzzard after it flew into one of the wind turbines at Forss.

The demise of the adult buzzard was seen on Wednesday by a group of workers travelling between New Park business park at Forss and the neighbouring site at Dounreay at lunchtime on Wednesday. The financial administrator, Terry Luckock, reported the death to the RSPB.

She said: “It was a real shame to see such a beautiful bird killed in this way. It did not stand a chance given that it collided with a moving, nine-tonne blade.”

Ms Luckock, 41, from Halkirk, does not believe it was an isolated occurrence.

“I believe one of the turbines here was responsible for a buzzard’s death last summer and I’m told the ground at the wind farm at the Causewaymire is littered with dead birds. The turbines might be environmentally-friendly but it’s at a cost to our birdlife. Unfortunately, I don’t think that is going to stop more going up.”

The buzzard was one of a pair, with its local nest also including a nine-month fledgling.

Work is under way to build a further four turbines at the site.

No one from Renewable Energy Systems, which runs the Forss site, was yesterday available for comment.

A Belgian falconer is meanwhile urging planners to block a windfarm proposed on a prime piece of sporting land on the east coast of Caithness. According to Hugo Clerens, turbines in his homeland have killed many birds and he fears the same would be true if npower renewables gets the green light at Burn of Whilk, near Clyth.

Mr Clerens is one of a number of Belgian falconers who regularly travels to indulge his hobby on Thrumster Estate.

“Windmills are slaughterhouses for birds,” he stated in his objection to Highland Council’s planning office. “It is a known fact that windmills are a major threat to passage birds such as geese and cranes, and other big birds such as eagles and owls.”

A spokeswoman for npower renewables, the company behind the Clyth development, yesterday said schemes would not get planning approval if there is well-founded concern about its impact on the local birdlife. She said: “Part of the environmental studies which have to accompany a planning application involve a full assessment on the likelihood of bird strikes.The operation of sites we have developed show we’re pretty well spot on with the locations we’ve chosen. We’ve not encountered any problems.”

By Iain Grant