Wind farms don’t cause long-term harm to birds — study

Source: E&E • Posted: Friday, April 13, 2012

Onshore wind farms do not cause long-term damage to bird populations, but the construction phase does harm some species, according to a new study.

The study by U.K. conservation groups looked at the effects of wind farms on 10 key species of British upland birds, including several suffering from severe population declines.

It concluded that the large majority of species can co-exist or thrive once wind farms are operating. But it also found strong evidence that some species are negatively affected while wind farms are being built.

“It shows that there can be serious species-level impacts in the construction phase, so construction in the right place is absolutely key,” said Martin Harper, U.K. conservation director for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. “But what it hasn’t shown is that wind farms are ‘bird blenders.’ There is no impact from the turning of the blades.”

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, was conducted jointly by four naturalists and ornithologists from RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage and the British Trust for Ornithology (Severin Carrell, London Guardian, April 12)