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 in the UK, not only because of the risk of direct collision if turbines are placed on migration or commuting routes, but also because of displacement from foraging habitat. The positioning of mid-sized wind turbines in hedgerows is also a concern.
BCT would like to see monitoring undertaken at existing wind turbine sites and monitoring of all new turbines, whether large or small. We would also urge that full impact assessments of the potential effect on bats are undertaken, and for post-installation monitoring to be made a planning condition. BCT hopes that future updates of BWEA's guidance on wind farm development and nature conservation and guidance from SNCOs will reflect the need to consider bats in the planning of wind farms.
BCT welcomes the decision by Defra, the Renewables UK and Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) to fund a study to determine whether British bat populations are at risk from onshore wind turbines.
The Defra funded research project is being carried out by Fiona Mathews at Exeter University.
Bats and wind turbine research
In March 2009 Defra commissioned the University of Bristol and BCT to deliver Phase 1 of a research project on bats and wind turbines: 'Determining the impact of wind turbines on bat populations in Great Britain'. This initial phase established what information and research is currently available on bats and wind turbines, and developed a research protocol to be taken forward into Phase 2. Phase 2 of the project began in July 2009 and comprises a three-year project gathering data on bat activity and bat fatalities at wind farms in England, Scotland and Wales.
Click on the following document to read the report from Phase 1 of this project (PDF file):
- Natural England Technical Information Note: TIN051 - Bats and onshore windturbines (2012)
- Eurobats Resolution 5.6 Wind turbines and Annex generic guidelines (2006)
- Eurobats Resolution 4.7 Wind turbines and bats (2003)
- BWEA's guidance on wind farm development and nature conservation (2001)
- Details of the workshop on wind turbines and bat populations held on 5th February 2007