Scotland provides guidance to wind farms for the protection of bird life
An innovative guide for wind farms is to be produced by the Scottish Government, industry and charities to help protect bird life. The Scottish Windfarm Bird Steering Group, made up of the Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB Scotland and Scottish Renewables, has already spent more than £50,000 on a series of studies.
At a summit in Perth tomorrow, the partnership will announce the development of a 'Good Practice Guide' on how bird populations, and the habitats on which they depend, can be more effectively managed, as well as the results of work done to date. More funding is already earmarked for future studies to help develop the guide.
Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse welcomed the move, saying: "This is an important step forward, demonstrating that the renewables industry and conservation groups are working together to help the conservation of bird populations across Scotland."
"It is particularly encouraging to see the focus from the group to base the guide on real evidence rather than on speculation. By working closely with the industry I am sure they will produce a practical guide for the future." The Scottish Windfarm Bird Steering Group (SWBSG) has research worth around £54,000 underway. The Scottish Government; SNH; RSPB Scotland; Scottish Renewables and industry partners SSE; ScottishPower Renewables; RES and Vattenfall fund the group.
The research projects, currently being carried out by Stirling and Newcastle Universities, are examining the long-term effects of wind farm developments on birds, habitat management and the methods and techniques used in monitoring and surveying birds.
Professor Colin Galbraith, Chairman of the SWBSG, stressed the need to work with industry in order to produce guidance that can be put into practice at sites across Scotland. He said: "The renewables industry is acutely aware of the need to protect the environment and this guide will provide it with additional tools to do this."
"By involving industry and conservation groups in its production, the guide will build on existing monitoring of bird populations and data-sharing initiatives, as well as providing a unique overview and insight into the techniques used to manage habitats for birds around wind farms." Joss Blamire, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: "The SWBSG is a good example of industry and government working pro-actively together to develop ground-breaking research. The work of the group will feed into the Good Practice Guide and help industry formulate plans for responsible wind farm developments in Scotland, continuing their role in creating jobs and economic growth while simultaneously benefiting our natural environment."
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Birds and Wind Turbines image via Shutterstock.