Campaigning for nature
Image: David J Morris
A pre-application scoping report for the Benshinnie wind farm was submitted to Scottish Ministers in March 2012.The proposal includes 24 turbines at a height of 125m to tip, although the exact dimensions may change before an application is submitted.
The proposed site is next to Loch Ken and River Dee Special Protection Area (SPA), designated for the importance of its overwintering Greenland white-fronted and greylag geese. The area is also heavily used by breeding red kites, a species listed in Annex 1 of the EU Birds Directive.
We are concerned that Burcote Wind Ltd is pursuing a major wind farm project in such a sensitive location and have raised serious concerns about potential impacts on the SPA and the red kite population.
Red kites are listed on Annex 1 of the EU Birds Directive and therefore subject to 'special conservation measures'. Red kites are also on the 'amber list' of Birds of Conservation Concern, which means they are a species of critical conservation concern in the UK.
The Loch Ken and River Dee SPA provides important habitat for overwintering Greenland white-fronted and greylag geese. Even with mitigation, this proposal is likely to leave outstanding threats and uncertainties over the potential impact on the SPA, which is adjacent to the site.
The development would also potentially have an impact on areas of active blanket bog, which is a priority habitat under Annex 1 of the Habitats Directive, and has significant carbon storage properties.
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RSPB Scotland supports the development of renewable energy developments in appropriate locations that do not cause adverse impacts on bird populations of conservation importance. We recognise wind farm development is an important means of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from energy production and helping to meet Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets. We consider that there are alternative, less environmentally damaging development sites that could contribute to meeting Scotland's renewable energy needs.
RSPB Scotland has provided a written response to the scoping report outlining our significant concerns about this proposed wind farm development.
We will scrutinise the Environmental Statement very closely when it is submitted.
Scoping report submitted for consultation
RSPB scoping response submitted