The seagull population of Barrow has a new hazard to contend with – the whirling blades of the Tesco wind turbines.
Some residents of the town may not shed tears over birds they consider pests (See Vox Pop, page eight) but one Barrow resident is demanding action.
Pat Denny, of Cliff Lane, who runs a bird sanctuary, believes more than 40 seagulls have now been killed by the whirling wind turbine blades.
She is nursing a permanently grounded gull which had a wing smashed by one of the turbines in the Tesco car park and is calling for the superstore group bosses to take action to save birds’ lives in future.
And she appears to have been backed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds which says in a letter that although it is not against wind turbines, it believes Tesco in Barrow should be doing more to save birds.
Miss Denny says many of the casulaties have been sliced in half by the whirring blades.
She took a dead bird into the store herself recently and demanded action.
She said: “They said it was all up to the engineer and they would get back to me, but they haven’t yet.”
Miss Denny, who struggles financially to house and feed a collection of hurt birds, ducks and geese in her garden, wrote to the RSPB for help.
The RSPB replied that under the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is a criminal offence to intentionally kill birds.
Rowena Langston, a senior research biologist for the RSPB, said in a letter that the bird group was not against wind turbines.
The purpose of putting up the turbines had been to generate energy not to kill birds but in Barrow “birds are being killed as an unfortunate outcome of this energy installation”.
She added: “Morally, knowing birds are being killed by these turbines, Tesco ought to be trying to avert further deaths.”
Miss Denny said: “In principle I am not against wind mills as such, but I think the council was a bit daft giving them permission to go there because it is near to a nesting site in the shipyard. At this time of year the birds are looking for food for their young chicks.”
Miss Denny wants Tesco to consider shielding the blades in some way, or relocating the turbines or making them rotate slower.
She said: “I worry that birds are getting sucked into the vortex of the blades which go so fast.”
Tesco put up the two turbines as a green measure earlier this year.
They provide electricity to power the store’s check out tills.
Last month a Tesco spokesman said: “The turbines partly power the store and are a part of our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint as a company.
“Birds have been killed by the turbines and it’s something which happens intermittently and we apologise unreservedly for any distress.”
20 July 2007
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