Willow Wind Farm

Tagged with: Casework status: Open Casework type: Energy Site designations: SPA Site designations: SSSI
White-fronted goose Anser flavirostris (greenland race), adult male, Loch Gruinart RSPB reserve, Islay

Overview

RSPB Scotland has significant concerns about plans to put turbines between established feeding and roosting grounds used regularly by the geese.

RSPB Scotland has significant concerns about a wind farm site called Willow Farm, which is being progressed by Good Energy.

The wind farm site is located in an extremely sensitive part of the Kintyre Peninsula – it is situated between protected feeding and roosting areas for Greenland white-fronted geese. The geese are known to make daily movements between these areas, which would put them at high risk of collision with turbines.  

Greenland white-fronted geese are endangered. The decline in numbers is a cause for international concern. The UK has signed an international agreement for the conservation of this globally threatened species. Plans for turbines in locations where goose movements are concentrated between known goose roosts and favoured feeding areas should be abandoned. This site has already been refused by the planning process twice, and is clearly not a suitable place a wind farm.  

RSPB Scotland urges Good Energy to focus efforts on developing renewable energy away from sensitive sites such as this one.  

Map

Why is it worth fighting for?

The Kintyre Peninsula is a special place for wildlife. It forms the southern part of mainland Argyll and is the longest peninsula in Scotland. The area holds large numbers of wintering geese, particularly Greenland white-fronted geese, which are globally threatened. The population of Greenland white-fronted geese is small and their world range is limited. The geese migrate all the way from their breeding grounds in Greenland to winter on the lochs and habitats in Kintyre. It is vitally important that the geese have safe wintering grounds to return to each year. 

On the Kintyre Peninsula there are five hill lochs - Loch Garasdale, Loch an Fhraoich, Loch Lussa, Tangy Loch and Black Loch (north). These, together with an area of grassland and heath at Rhunahaorine Point, form the Kintyre Goose Roosts SPA. These areas support a substantial proportion of the British wintering total of Greenland white-fronted goose. Robust European legislation is in place to protect to these sites from inappropriate development. 

How you can help

We need Good Energy to know how concerned people are about wildlife on Kintyre. Please tweet @GoodEnergy or go to :

FacebookTwitter or Good Energy web site.

to highlight your concerns about this site and the impacts on Greenland white-fronted geese. 

Causeymire Wind Farm, Achkeepster, Caithness, Highland region, Scotland

Our position

We believe wind energy has an essential part to play in tackling climate change, however, this can be achieved without damaging our most important places for wildlife.

The wind farm site is located between feeding and wintering grounds used by Greenland white-fronted geese. Studies have highlighted that the geese move between these areas on a daily basis, putting them at high risk of collision with the proposed wind turbines. Radar work has revealed that the geese also fly at night which makes it particularly difficult to use survey work to accurately record the number of geese flights.

Two applications have previously been refused at this site, one by public inquiry. The grounds of refusal for both applications included adverse impacts on Greenland white-fronted geese populations. Despite extensive radar work, it was not possible to conclude there would be no impact on this species. SNH and RSPB Scotland objected strongly to both applications.  

 RSPB Scotland responded to the scoping report for Willow Farm and also met with the developers, Good Energy, to highlight concerns that this is not an appropriate site for wind energy development. SNH has also raised similar concerns. Another planning inquiry would cost a lot of public money as well as diverting resources away from important conservation work.   

Timeline

  • October 2015
    RSPB Scotland met with Good Energy and SNH
  • April 2015
    Scoping