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Published on July 17th, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill


Bird and Wildlife Charity to Erect Massive Wind Turbine (The Message: Wind Turbines Better for Birds than Fossil Fuels)

July 17th, 2012 by  

There’s a common myth that wind turbines are much worse for birds that conventional, fossil-fuel power plants. As an indication that they certainly aren’t, a leading bird protection charity in the UK is actually going to have a huge wind turbine for its headquarters!

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the UK announced plans earlier this year to erect a massive wind turbine at its headquarters in Sandy, Bedfordshire. The 100-metre wind turbine would be installed, at the earliest, in the autumn of 2013, upon the requisite approval being granted.

“We are keen to promote the use of wind energy where it does not result in unacceptable impacts to wildlife and we are confident that this is a suitable location to do so,” Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director said.

“All of us have a part to play in helping to meet the UK Government’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and this turbine will be one more step along the way.

“We need a revolution in the way we generate and use energy – but we want that revolution to take place in harmony with the natural environment.”

The RSPB noted that it believes “renewable energy is an essential tool in the fight against climate change, which poses the single biggest threat to the long term survival of birds and wildlife.” As a result, they are taking steps to reduce their own carbon footprint by generating their own electricity from renewable sources.

The RSPB is joining with green energy company Ecotricity to submit its planning application for a meteorological mast to be erected close to the charity’s head offices at The Lodge nature reserve, the first step towards determining the site as suitable for a wind turbine. But this is not the first step the organization has taken, having already done numerous tests to determine the suitability of the site.

“It’s essential that wind energy projects provide their vital environmental benefits with the minimum environmental impact,” said Dale Vince, Founder of Ecotricity. “To ensure this, we conduct detailed studies on up to 27 different areas of potential impact such as health and safety, cultural heritage and wildlife. Our aim is to ensure that any wind project we build will be a good neighbour, for people and for wildlife, for the entire lifetime of operation. “

“We know that with the right design and location wind turbines have little or no impact on wildlife,” said Harper. “The RSPB has commented on over 1,500 wind farm applications. In the small number of cases – around six per cent – where we feel there is likely to be a significant impact on wildlife we have lodged an objection. In many of these cases the developers have listened and redesigned their plans to make sure they do not threaten wildlife.”

“We hope that by siting a wind turbine at our UK headquarters, we will demonstrate to others that with a thorough environmental assessment and the right planning and design, renewable energy and a healthy, thriving environment can go hand in hand.”

Source: The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Image Source: Graeme Maclean

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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

  • Excellent.  Fossil fuels kill birds as well as humans.  Its high time more wind turbines were installed.  Just a single turbine can provide energy for a whole village / town.

  • Iamstein

    And I suppose there are no sound frequencies which cause “uncomfortable” vibrations within the hearing spectrum of avions…..if YOU were a bird, would YOU fly into something that has been hurting your ears for the last few seconds?

  • Bulewo

    One aspect of coal mining that I don’t believe has been factored into the coal/wind turbine debate with regards to bird strike and wildlife casualties is road kill by coal trucks and trains. Whilst wind turbines may kill a small number of high-flying birds, coal trains and trucks run over reptiles and mammals as well as hitting lower flying birds and carrion feeders that descend to feed on them. 

    • Bob_Wallace

      “Fossil-fueled facilities are 17 times more dangerous to birds on a per GWh basis than wind power. Wind turbines may have killed about 7000 birds, but fossil-fueled stations killed 14.5 million and nuclear 327,000. ”

      I’d use this study as a jumping off point. I’ve read some criticism of it, but haven’t dug deeply into the criticism. I see that Robert Bryce and the Wall Street Journal have inserted themselves into the discussion, so beware, there’s mischief afoot in the service of the fossil fuel industry.

      • Great study/link! Thanks. Don’t recall seeing that.

    • Good point.

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