The Largest Wind Farm Project in Europe threatens Thousands of Birds

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Published by on December 1, 2004 courtesy of Proact

Earlier this year Proact and other organisations campaigned against the plan by Farm Energy Ltd to erect six wind turbines on Beinn Mholach inside the Lewis Peatlands Special Protection Area (SPA), Isle of Lewis, in close proximity to nesting Golden Eagle (site also designated under the RAMSAR Convention)
We warned that this would only be the ‘foot in the door’ for more ambitious projects – après moi le Deluge. Nevertheless the Western Isles Council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar approved the application.
The application by Amec http://www.amec.com/wind/2ndlevel.asp?pageid=8038 (those with more than a passing interest in the detail can follow the links from this page to find more about the proposed development) and British Energy http://www.british-energy.com/cgi-bin/public/frame/frame.pl?url=media/press/items/item80.html to build 234 wind turbines on the North Lewis Peatlands SPA in the Scottish Western Isles has now been submitted.
The developers proudly present the project as “Europe’s largest wind farm involving the construction of up to 300 wind turbines …. creating at least 600 MW of electrical power”. The Western Isles, which have one of the most beautiful wild landscapes in Britain, would become the ‘renewables capital of Europe’ with more industrialisation in the shape of a turbine and tower manufacturing plant at Arnish Point. What a prospect!
Individuals and conservation organisations believe this will be hugely damaging and that the chosen site is the wrong location for such a major industrial development.
The Environmental Statement (ES) commissioned by Amec states that, in the course of the development’s estimated 25-year lifetime, 50 Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos and 16 Red-throated Divers Gavia stellata are at risk of fatally colliding with the wind turbine blades.
The ES also concludes that:
• 352 Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria territories; and
• 314 Dunlin Calidris alpina territories could be displaced during the operation of the wind farm and hundreds more will be affected during construction.
• Merlin Falco columbarius, Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus, Greylag Goose Anser anser and Corncrake Crex crex may also be affected by displacement, disturbance or collision.
The RSPB, which is also objecting to the Scottish Executive about the proposal, has produced a BirdLife briefing which is also available online at

http://www.proact-campaigns.net/windfarmsandbirds/rspb.html

The Amec/british Energy application has been submitted to the Scottish Executive for their approval. The deadline for objecting to the proposal is December 13th. This will be not only Europe’s, but at time of posting, the world’s largest wind farm. It is proposed for an area with international conservation designations and if this is approved, NOWHERE in Scotland will be out of bounds for development! Other countries will not be slow to follow.
You are encouraged to lodge an objection in support of the campaign against the siting of this wind farm in the Lewis SPA at:

http://www.proact-campaigns.net/windfarmsandbirds/amec_and_lewis.html

David Conlin
Proact International

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