The 54-turbine Black Law windfarm has a total capacity of 124 megawatts (MW) and spans a large area of upland habitat across North and South Lanarkshire and West Lothian.
This development is located in an area extensively damaged by mining, afforestation and drainage of wet heath. In terms of bird interest, it is host to a locally important population of breeding waders and farmland birds with occasional use of the site by hen harrier and merlin.
By working closely with the developer, Scottish Power Renewables, SNH and the three local councils, we secured habitat mitigation and enhancement to benefit breeding waders, farmland birds and blanket bog. The resulting Habitat Management Plan covers 14 square kilometres and is the largest heathland restoration project in the region.
The Habitat Management Plan, which is a condition of the planning consent, involves six owners (two farmers and four forest owners) with each agreeing to implement the prescriptions in the Habitat Management Plan for a minimum of 25 years. Objectives of the plan include:
- Restoration of nearly five square kilometres of blanket bog and heathland, by removal of conifers, restoration of bog hydrology and introduction of grazing,
- Enhance the condition of the remaining five square kilometres of degraded blanket bog and 3 square kilometres of marshy grassland for skylark and breeding waders, by establishing appropriate grazing and hydrological regimes,
- Enhance wintering populations of farmland birds by the introduction of wildbird cover,
- Restore nearly two square kilometres of abandoned opencast coal mine to heathland and rough grassland,
- Protect and enhance the population of water voles and otters on the site,
- Monitor the outcome of the above and the impact of turbines on bird abundance and distribution.
An Ecological Clerk of Works was appointed to oversee construction, implementation of the habitat management plan, and pre and post-construction bird monitoring as required by the planning conditions.
Black Law windfarm has been operational since summer 2005 and we were delighted that this development was awarded the Best Renewable Project in the 2005 Green Energy Awards.
An application has been made for an additional 23 turbines to extend the windfarm and we hope to continue to work with Scottish Power Renewables to ensure the high standards of the initial development are continued in this and any future projects.