BirdLife Cyprus recently submitted its position for the ongoing strategic impact assessment for renewable energy development in Cyprus, with our focus set on achieving a sustainable energy strategy while avoiding negative impacts on biodiversity.
As BirdLife, we fully recognize the huge threat posed to biodiversity and ecosystems in general by climate change, and importance of developing a sound policy for renewable energy to minimize CO2 emissions. We believe Cyprus must meet the renewable targets set in agreement with the EU, but we also believe that biodiversity should not be sacrificed in the process (as this would have a massive impact on ecosystems and would risk failing to meet vital EU targets in the area of biodiversity conservation). The step-by-step transition to a renewable-based energy system must be achieved in a strategic and targeted manner that also guarantees the protection of biodiversity, with the focus on the preservation of the NATURA 2000 areas set up under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives.
BirdLife Cyprus is calling for all NATURA 2000 sites designated by the State, all Important Bird Areas (IBAs) identified by BirdLife and all major migration corridors identified by the Game Fund Service in cooperation with BirdLife Cyprus, to be declared as “no go areas” for large-scale renewable energy developments such as wind farms, solar parks and photovoltaic parks. Renewable energy developments that have already been licensed in such areas should be re-assessed wherever possible, or, where construction has already gone ahead, substantial compensation should be given with the specific target of restoring the favourable conservation status of the habitats and species for which the biodiversity area was designated or identified.