30 March 2012

Windfarm Industry To Share Thoughts On Bird Impacts

More than 80 developers, consultants and planners involved in windfarm development will gather in Battleby, near Perth on Tuesday (3 April) to share information on assessing the impacts of windfarms on birds.

The event is part of the themed Sharing Good Practice programme organised by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) in partnership with the Scottish Windfarm Bird Steering Group.

One of the main aspects of the day will be for industry and science delegates to share their experiences and findings from monitoring windfarm impacts after construction.

The event will also focus on the work of the Scottish Windfarm Bird Steering Group. This group will bring together the results of studies at individual windfarm sites and analyse these to provide a better understanding of how individual species are impacted by windfarms across Scotland.

This understanding is vital to ensure that new windfarm applications can be assessed on the best possible information, ensuring that bird populations are appropriately protected while new developments are not unduly constrained.

Environment Minister, Stewart Stevenson, will give the closing address on the day. Speaking ahead of the event, he said:

“The Scottish Government has set ambitious targets on reducing our carbon emissions. One of the many positive benefits of this is the rapid development of the Scottish Renewables industry bringing jobs and expertise to communities across Scotland. The challenge for us all is to make sure that these developments continue and that the local environment remains protected and managed. Groups like these represent an important part of the future for Scotland and I look forward to hearing people sharing their experiences and expertise.”

Professor Colin Galbraith, chairman of the Group said:

“I am delighted to be working on this issue with the member organisations. The renewables industry is really important to Scotland and its development will increasingly help us meet our carbon reduction targets. This needs to be done whilst minimising the effects of wind farms on our bird populations. The work of the Group will add to our knowledge of the issues involved and, over time, will provide an objective evidence base for future policy and decisions on the ground.”

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said:

“This is just the latest example of the renewables industry and the public sector working together to develop new expertise and information. The research will be an important contribution to understanding the true relationship between renewables developments and birdlife, improving decision-making and benefiting our environment and the economy.”

The Scottish Windfarm Birds Steering Group includes Scottish Renewables, RSPB Scotland, SNH and Scottish Government, as well as an independent chair and research co-ordinator.

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