Evidence of bats colliding with wind turbines has been available from the US and Europe since the early 2000s and there is now evidence of this from the UK.

Direct impacts of wind farms can include collision and barotrauma (damage to tissues from air pressure changes around turbines); indirect impacts can include habitat loss (roosts, commuting routes and foraging areas) and fragmentation.

The Bat Conservation Trust supports the development of sustainable energy, including wind, but in line with Eurobats resolutions stresses that it is imperative that the potentially harmful impacts on bats and other wildlife (both direct and indirect) are taken into account through ecological impact assessments for all wind projects. These should be carried out before deciding on the siting of onshore and offshore wind turbines and wind farms, large and small. Where impacts are predicted avoidance and mitigation measures and monitoring should be 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.

The Bat Conservation Trust are part of a collaboration of organisations currently producing UK guidance on bats and wind farms including surveying, impact assessment, mitigation and monitoring measures. This guidance will be available soon. The Bat Conservation Trust also contribute to the work of the Eurobats Intersessional Working Group on Wind Turbines and Bat Populations.

Useful references

Determining the Potential Ecological Impact of Wind Turbines on Bat Populations in Britain (University of Bristol and Bat Conservation Trust, 2009)

Bats and Single Large Wind Turbines: Joint Agencies Interim Guidance (Natural England, 2009)

Bats and Onshore Wind Turbines: Interim Guidance (Natural England 2012)

Understanding the Risk to European Protected Species (bats) at Onshore Wind Turbine Sites to Inform Risk Management (Defra, 2016)

Eurobats Resolutions, Reports and Publications (including guidance)

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