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Mapping and locational guidance

Blades of wind turbine

Image: Niall Benvie

We believe that climate change represents the biggest long-term threat to birds and other wildlife, and view renewable energy technologies, including wind power, as an important part of the solution. However, we must ensure that our most important wildlife sites are not put at risk by such developments.

Maps indicating the most sensitive areas in England and Scotland for building wind farms have been produced by the RSPB.

It is hoped that these maps and accompanying written guidance will help minimise the conflict between wind farms and birds of high conservation concern by helping planners and developers avoid the most sensitive sites.

The maps identify those areas where wind farms are more likely to pose medium to high risks for important bird populations, and so require more comprehensive assessment to determine where wind energy projects may be accommodated, and areas where wind farms are likely to be of less concern.

You can download the full report and map for each country by following the links to the left of this page.

A planning aid for the future

The maps are intended to help local authorities in planning for renewable energy developments, and developers in directing proposals towards areas which are least likely to impact on sensitive species. With ambitious targets for renewable energy, developing plans of where these developments can best be accommodated is vital to the successful roll-out of technologies like wind power.

Scottish Government sets out in its Scottish Planning Policy the approach that planning authorities should follow in planning for renewable energy and in particular for large windfarms. This approach involves identifying areas for significant protection, other areas of significant constraint and areas of search for windfarms.

With the aid of these maps, the RSPB hopes it will make it easier for local councils to identify these areas - especially those which are important for birds - as well as helping to speed up the planning process.