Last modified: 16 July 2012
Image: Andy Hay
In April 2012, we announced plans to build a single wind turbine at our UK Headquarters, The Lodge, together with green energy company, Ecotricity.
After a positive initial local consultation process, we've now been granted planning permission to erect a meteorological mast on the proposed wind turbine site within Sandy Ridge, a field south of the B1042 Potton Road.
Paul Forecast, RSPB Regional Director in the East, said: “The meteorological mast being constructed on site today marks the first step towards us achieving our ambition of having a wind turbine at The Lodge.
“Putting a wind turbine up at this site could generate the equivalent of up to two thirds of the RSPB’s total electricity needs across its UK operations and significantly reduce our carbon footprint, putting us well on the way to meeting our target to reduce our carbon emissions by 80% by 2050.
“We know that with the right planning, design and location, wind turbines have little or no impact on wildlife. As well as measuring wind resource, the meteorological mast will help us to collect data about the wildlife nearby to confirm the suitability of the site for a turbine.
The mast measures 70m tall, approximately one third of the height of the nearby TV mast on Sandy Heath. It is made of steel tubes weighing several tons and will be held in place using guy wires fitted with bird deflectors. It will be in place for up to 12 months, between July 2012 and July 2013.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity Founder, said: “The mast is the next step towards powering RSPB's headquarters with their own dedicated windmill, which will significantly reduce their carbon emissions. Our initial research suggests this site is suitable for a windmill, the mast will give us more data for further detailed analysis. This will include measurements of wind speed, noise, and further data on bird and bat activity.
“Ecotricity has been building windmills since 1996. While this work is essential in order to bring energy independence back to Britain and to reduce our emissions of Climate Change gases, we only build windmills where we can be sure that there will be no adverse impact on local people and wildlife. We achieve this through a combination of rigorous assessment, near twenty years of experience and because we believe it's the only way to make wind energy sustainable in all senses of the word.”
If the data collected from the mast confirms that the site is suitable, it is anticipated that a full planning application for the turbine will be submitted in early 2013.
For further information on the meteorological mast or The Lodge Wind Turbine Project, on our The Lodge reserve pages.