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Eagle kills

Eagles and wind turbines are a deadly mix, as Jane Shoobridge-Malecky rightly points out in Talking Point (Mercury, February 17). Currently, the siting of turbines relies on a 30-year-old regulation that was drafted in the Regional Forest Agreement, and which was intended to limit forestry activity within a kilometre radius of an eagle’s nest.

There is no valid comparison of a ground-level forestry operation and a 240m tower, with 100 tonnes of metal spinning at 300km/h, and the accompanying roar. We need to implement world’s best practice as Tasmania is carried along on the current energy boom.

We should not sacrifice our flora and fauna for the rapacious “quick buck”.

An internationally renowned biologist from South Africa, Megan Murgatroyd, headed a seven year research project using eagles fitted with GPS trackers. She has just published “A Predictive Model For Improving Placement of Wind Turbines to Minimise Collision Risk Potential For a Large Soaring Raptor”.

The title says it all, and it is being used to develop wind farms in South Africa. Dr Murgatroyd maintains that using her modelling allows for better and cheaper turbine placement. In its absence, her data shows that a 3.7km radius is the bare minimum area required for the protection of nests.

The precautionary principle (totally ignored here in Tasmania) requires a 5.2 km buffer. Is anyone from the Environment Protection Authority familiar with her work?

Greg Pullen