Wind Farms and Wind Turbines
A position statement from BCT
BCT supports the development of sustainable energy but, in line with the Eurobats resolutions, stresses that it is imperative that the possible harmful effects on bats and other wildlife (both direct and indirect) are taken into account before deciding on the siting of wind turbines, large and small.
The discovery of dead bats and birds underneath wind turbines in the US and in mainland Europe has led to concerns that research into the siting of these structures is not sufficiently rigorous, and that some have been erected on migration routes of bats and birds.
The siting of turbines may be an issue for bats not only because of the risk of direct collision if turbines are placed on migration or commuting routes or in important foraging habitat, but also because of potential displacement from foraging habitat. The positioning of mid-sized wind turbines in hedgerows is also a concern.
BCT would like to see full ecological impact assessments for all new wind energy installations with mitigation measures and monitoring applied where appropriate and secured through robust planning conditions. We would also like to see monitoring of existing wind turbine sites and remedial action where any issues are identified.
Research into bats and wind turbines in the UK, funded by DEFRA, DECC (now Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Renewable UK, Natural Resources Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage, supported by BCT and Ecotricity and carried out by the University of Exeter, has now been published. This research reveals that bat mortality rates at some sites are equivalent to those in Europe but there is very high variability between sites. This supports the need for case by case assessment of the potential impacts of proposed installations. Please click on the link below to access the research report:
- Understanding the Risk to European Protected Species (bats) at Onshore Wind Turbine Sites to inform Risk Management
Following the publication of the above report a collaboration of organisations is currently drafting guidelines for consultants and developers on wind farms and bats, which will include guidance on surveying, impact assessment, mitigation and monitoring.
- BCT's Position Statement on Microgeneration Schemes
- Determining the impact of wind turbines on bat populations in Great Britain Phase 1 Report (2009)
- Eurobats - Guidelines for the consideration of bats in wind farm projects (2014)
- Natural England Technical Information Note: TIN051 - Bats and onshore wind turbines Interim Guidance (2012)