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Proposed Kaimai Wind Farm identified as posing risk to vulnerable long-tailed bat  

Credit:  Jake McKee Cagney | Waikato Times | September 20, 2018 | www.stuff.co.nz ~~

Ecological environment reports for the proposed Kaimai Wind Farm have identified the wind mills could cause internal hemorrhaging in the native and vulnerable long-tailed bat.

At a recent public meeting, hosted by Protect Karangahake at Karangahake Hall, Protect Karangahake group member Alastair Sorley said in documents released as part of the resource consent process, it was identified that long-tailed bats could be considered at risk of mortality or injury by wind turbine strike.

The Ecological Effects Assessment report, however, states that they were unable to quantify or identify the level of risk at the time of publication, and “mitigation for potential bat strike is considered prudent”.

The long-tailed bat was identified as “Nationally Vulnerable” in a 2012 Department of Conservation report.

After the meeting, Protect Karangahake acting chairperson Duncan Shearer said Protect Karangahake had not decided whether they support the proposal or not, “but as a general principal, we formed as a group to protect the land”.

He said the “risk to bats and birds is a concern as the area is a migratory path” and the proposed wind farm site “is positioned in a vulnerable ecological corridor”.

Shearer said he would like to see more “robust scientific evidence” around the impact of wind farms on bats.

“I feel at this stage the science isn’t robust enough for anyone to make a decision on it.”

He said he would like to see more information on what would be done to mitigate any risks to the species.

Kaimai Wind Farm chief executive Glen Starr said acknowledged there being an indication of “some risk” to long-tailed bats from the operation of a wind farm.

But he also said multi-year studies conducted at the Te Uku Wind Farm, near Raglan, demonstrated that the actual impact of wind farms on long-tailed bats was not significant.

Starr said their reports advocated for mitigation of any risks and the proposed measure is through targeted pest control.

“This mitigation will be further supported through monitoring of this species during the operational phase of the wind farm to confirm these assessments and ensure any unforeseen impacts on the species are addressed.”

Sorley said if the proposed wind farm was to go forward, it would be “a big change”.

He also said that whilst green energy was our way forward, it was also tricky because of the amount of industrial building that could be required.

Source:  Jake McKee Cagney | Waikato Times | September 20, 2018 | www.stuff.co.nz

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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