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RSPB announces wind turbine plan to reduce its carbon footprint

Last modified: 20 April 2012

Wind turbine silhouetted against sky

The RSPB is today unveiling plans to build a wind turbine at its UK headquarters in Sandy, Bedfordshire.

The RSPB believes that 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. 

In addition to campaigning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the RSPB is committed to reducing its own carbon footprint by generating its energy needs from renewable sources wherever possible.

The proposal will be a significant step for the wildlife charity, which is joining forces with green energy company, Ecotricity.

The RSPB and Ecotricity will shortly be submitting a planning application for a meteorological mast to be erected close to the charity’s head offices at The Lodge nature reserve near Sandy in Bedfordshire. This is the first step in determining if this site is suitable for a wind turbine.

If the site is found to be suitable, the proposed wind turbine will be erected, at the earliest, in autumn 2013 and will measure 100m at its highest point. It will generate around two thirds of the RSPB’s electricity needs across all of its UK operations. (See note 2)

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director said: “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.

“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.   

“We know that with the right design and location wind turbines have little or no  impact on wildlife. 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.”

Dale Vince, Founder of Ecotricity, said: “Ecotricity’s mission is to change where Britain’s energy comes from because this is our biggest single source of the carbon emissions that cause climate change.

“It’s essential that wind energy projects provide their vital environmental benefits with the minimum environmental impact. 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. 

“So far our studies show The Lodge site is suitable for a wind turbine and would make a significant contribution in reducing the RSPB’s carbon emissions and energy costs.

“Ecotricity is a British company which started 16 years ago as the world’s first green energy company and we don’t pay dividends to shareholders, instead we use our profits to build new sources of green energy.”

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