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Bird sensitivity map to provide locational guidance for onshore wind farms in Scotland

Blades of wind turbine

Concerns over climate change have led to government targets to increate the amount of energy sourced from renewables. Whilst the RSPB recognises the valuable role wind energy plays in the attempt to tackle climate change, wind farms can have negative effects on birds, particularly by collision fatalities and displacement due to disturbance. Careful location of wind farms is key to minimising such effects. The sensitivity map is intended to aid locational guidance in the early stages of the planning process.

Species involved:  Red-throated diver, black-throated diver, slavonian grebe, bean goose, common scoter, red kite, white-tailed eagle, hen harrier, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, black grouse, capercaillie, corncrake, golden plover, dunlin, arctic skua, nightjar and chough. Special Protection Areas used as a surrogate for the distribution of species of non-breeding waterfowl and colonial breeding seabirds.

Project objectives

  • To create a map of bird sensitivities to onshore wind farm development in Scotland, where each 1-km square is allocated a sensitivity rating.

Key dates so far

  • The map has been provided to a number of Local Authorities, developers and consultants in Scotland, and was used by the Highland Council in the creation of the Highland Renewable Energy Strategy.

Work planned or underway

15-month project, completed June 2006.

Results

The map indicates a greater incidence of bird sensitivities in north-west Scotland, particularly the Highlands, Western and Northern Isles. Overall, 37 % of the map is classified as 'high sensitivity', 31 % as 'medium sensitivity' and 32 % as 'low/unknown sensitivity'.

Gallery

Downloads

Bird Sensitivity Map to provide locational guidance for onshore wind farms in Scotland

Bird Sensitivity Map to provide locational guidance for onshore wind farms in Scotland

1.33Mb, PDF

Authors: Bright, J.A., Langston, R.H.W., Bullman, R & Others (2006)

Published in: RSPB Research Report 20

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Who to contact

Dr Rowena Langston
Principal Conservation Scientist
E-mail: rowena.langston@rspb.org.uk

Partners

RSPB & Scottish Natural Heritage

Funding

RSPB & Scottish Natural Heritage