A wildlife conservation charity has criticised Scottish Water over plans to build a windfarm in the Angus Glens.
Developer Eneco UK last month submitted plans for an 18-turbine windfarm to the Scottish Government.
The proposed 59MW Macritch Hill development is intended for Scottish Water land at Backwater Reservoir, between Glens Prosen and Isla.
But the director of a raptor research and conservation body has claimed the development “will kill” several species of wild birds if it goes ahead.
Stewart Miller of the International Raptor Research and Conservation (IRRC) claimed a “baseline bird study” conducted by the developer did not go far enough in analysing local bird populations and their risk.
Eneco UK has rebuffed his claims, and considers there would be “no adverse effect” on species.
He said: “The data provided by the vantage point surveys and flight-line records show that this development will kill geese and a variety of raptor species such as osprey, golden eagle, goshawk, peregrine falcon and potentially merlin and white-tailed eagles.
“The above are species included in the list of target species for the site.
“However, it should also be noted that short-eared owls, hen harriers, buzzards, kestrels and sparrowhawks have been excluded.
“All raptor species are protected from persecution by law and should therefore be included in such surveys.
“It should also be noted that the kestrel population in the UK has suffered a severe decline in recent years and so more accurate data should be used to assess its conservation status.”
Mr Miller said the company’s 13-month survey was too short, adding: “This is not a long enough period to give an accurate survey result and therefore is incomplete.”
An Eneco spokeswoman said: “The bird survey for Macritch Hill windfarm was carried out for the correct amount of time and the data Eneco provided exceeded the recommended amount.
“Eneco followed the guidelines of the RSPB, SNH, Angus Council and the Scottish Government.
“All parties are satisfied with the surveys and Eneco take them very seriously.
“All protected species have been considered during this process and it is considered that it will have no adverse effect on them.”
Eneco UK had scaled back earlier plans for up to 33 turbines along the water.
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