Feed-in Tariff Single Wind Turbine Developments

The UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff (FIT), an initiative to provide incentives to people who generate renewable energy to feed some of the electricity back into the National Grid, has generated a lot of interest amongst developers and landowners. In particular, single wind turbine developments are now proving to be very popular but, as with any development, the erection of even a single wind turbine can potentially have impacts on the environment, including ecology.

Are breeding Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata displaced by wind energy developments?

Summary: In 2009 a paper by Pearce-Higgins et al (see previous BSG news and resources bulletin) concluded that operational wind farms had resulted in the displacement of a number of upland breeding bird species.  Since this time, nature conservation consultees have become concerned about displacement effects and the impacts this might have on wader populations.  Curlew, a species identified in the paper as showing a reduction in nesting density at distances of up to 800m from turbines, has been a particular concern, especially in areas (such as upland Wales) where local populations have been subject to considerable declines and are already extremely fragmented.  This has led to requests for large-scale ‘compensatory’ off site habitat management in relation to some wind farm planning applications.

Displacement of birds at operational wind farms: recent papers

Summary: A recent paper in the scientific journal Bird Study summarising the operational effects of the Beinn Tharsuinn wind farm (a Scottish Power scheme) on moorland breeding birds, draws into question the perceived wisdom that densities of golden plover are reduced in close proximity to wind turbines.  A further paper, by Natural Research, on the distribution of curlew around operational wind farms, suggests minimal effects on the distribution and population density of that species, formerly considered to be sensitive to displacement at distances of up to 800m from wind farms.

Worton Park Ringing Report 2010

BSG have been catching and ringing birds at the Oxford office since February 2010.  This work has been undertaken with permission from Worton Farms, and is carried out by appropriately licensed and experienced bird ringers (led by Owain Gabb).  All data collected is supplied to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).  The information is therefore available to be used in scientific research projects, while the ringing study provides training opportunities for some of BSG’s ecologists and detailed information to the farm on their local bird community.

Who killed the Cockney Sparrer?

Dr Kate Vincent was interviewed by BBC Radio 4 regarding her PhD research thesis findings for programme investigating the causes of the decline of the urban House Sparrow. Tom Heap presents the programme ‘Who Killed the Cockney Sparrer?’ which investigates who, or what, is killing the once common house sparrow.

Ecobuild 2009 Birds and buildings

Ecobuild is the world’s biggest event dedicated to sustainable design, construction and the built environment. The exhibition was held at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre in London between 3rd and 5th March. There were 800 exhibitors, as well as conference and seminar sessions.