Golden Plover use of an Operational Wind Farm

Using our thermal imaging camera, BSG Ecologist Jenny James recorded this footage of golden plover foraging within a wind farm in England. The clip, recorded in January 2015, shows the plovers using a cultivated arable field at night, close to the base of an operational wind turbine. The birds are approximately 25m from the turbine’s base; several other turbines are present nearby. The lower sweep of the blades (clearly visible in the clip) is approximately 20m above ground level. From the footage, this golden plover flock does not appear to be affected by the nearby turbine.

The potential ecological impacts of ground-mounted photovoltaic solar panels in the UK

As the number of solar parks in the UK increases, there is growing interest in the interaction of wildlife with ground-mounted photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. To date, a relatively low number of research papers have formed the basis for considerable discussion on the subject, and in some cases these have informed guidance relating to PV solar parks in the UK.

Revised SNH Guidance for Bird Survey at Onshore Wind Farms: What are the implications?

In August 2013, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) released revised bird survey guidance for onshore wind farms.  This represents the first substantial revision of guidance that was first formally issued in late 2005 (minor revisions / amendments were made in 2010).  SNH has led the way on this topic in UK terms, and understanding changes in the SNH guidance is therefore very important, as they will be reflected in consultee expectations with regard to survey work throughout the UK.

RenewableUK Conference 2013

BSG Ecology will be attending the Annual Renewable UK Conference and Exhibition at Birmingham NEC.  Owain Gabb, Principal Ecologist in our Swansea office, and Hannah Bilston, Senior Ecologist in our Oxford office, will be present on days 2 and 3 (Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th November), and Peter Shepherd, Partner in our Oxford office, on day 2.

What is an appropriate level of ecological work to support a single (large) turbine application?

There has been a considerable rise in the number of single turbine proposals over the past few years.  This has come about primarily as a result of the introduction of Government feed-in tariffs, which have provided incentives to develop single turbine schemes.  Despite the incentives, these small schemes generally have a limited budget if they are to be viable development propositions and sources of renewable energy.

Post-construction ecological monitoring at wind farm sites

Post-construction monitoring has been undertaken at wind farms in the UK for many years, and is now routinely requested for many multiple-turbine schemes.  Despite this, relatively few UK monitoring studies have contributed significantly to our understanding of the ways in which birds and bats may be impacted by wind farm developments: for example with regard to the collision and displacement of birds, information still has to be pieced together using a wide range of sources.

Presentation to Public Inspectors

Dr Peter Shepherd and Owain Gabb were invited by the Planning Inspectorate to give presentations on ecological issues arising from wind energy proposals to a two day conference of planning inspectors in Bristol on the 24th and 25th January 2013. The presentation covered the range of ecological issues that have featured at planning inquiries into wind farm developments between 2005 and 2010, but focused primarily on issues relating to impacts on bats and birds.

BSG Ecology at RenewableUK, Glasgow (Stand 67)

BSG Ecology is exhibiting at Stand 67 of Renewable UK, Glasgow between 30th October and 1st November 2012. The conference is at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC), Glasgow and will address policy, development and technical aspects of UK onshore and offshore wind energy, wave and tidal energy.

Matt Hobbs to Speak at IEEM Autumn Conference (7th November)

Senior Ecologist Matt Hobbs will present a talk to the IEEM Autumn Conference in Cardiff on the subject of the Bat Conservation Trust’s onshore wind farm guidance.  Matt’s talk will take place on Wednesday 7 November, and is entitled “Bat Surveys for Wind Farms – Best Practice.”

Bats and Wind Farms in Europe – Continental Scale Effects?

This article is part of our on-going review of new research into wind farm impacts on bats. It considers a recent paper published in the journal Biological Conservation by Voigt et al. (2012) titled “The catchment area of wind farms for European bats: a plea for international regulations¹”. It makes interesting and challenging reading for those involved in wind farm development in continental Europe, and has some possible implications for future assessment of impacts on bats at wind energy installations within the UK both on-shore and off-shore.