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Wind Farm Threat to Migration

Help Proact Prevent A Wind Turbine Death Trap On The Via Pontica Flyway In Bulgaria…

In 2002 the Bulgarian company Tessa Energy Ltd. applied for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the initial project phase of a wind farm of 12 turbines. The project is funded by a German bank. It is planned to build a total of 25 turbines in two phases. The first 12 turbines will be situated on a 110 ha plot of land on the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast between the town of Balchik and the beach resort of Albena. Each of the 12 turbines will be mounted on a 80-meter-high pylon with 3 vanes each of 40 metres in length. The turbine blades describes a circle of 0,5 ha in diameter; a total for all 12 turbines. The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds [BirdLife Bulgaria] (BSPB) was asked to contribute to an assessment of the possible risk for birds: it was made clear however that a negative conclusion would not be welcome. On this basis the BSPB refused to participate. Instead the investors commissioned an Environmental Assessment Report (EIA) from Dr. Dimitar Nankinov, Head of the Bird Ringing Centre of the Institute of Zoology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS). A one page report, produced by two amateur birdwatchers from Dr Nankinov`s ringing team, concluded after 16 days of field observations that there was NO high risk for birds on an annual basis. At the public hearing the BPSB expressed in writing their strong concerns, particularly as no attention was paid to recommendations in Bern Convention reports on wind farms; and the sketchy nature of the survey on which the EIA was based. In addition the BPSB launched a full autumn migration season survey with emphasis on soaring birds (pelicans, storks, raptors and cranes) in the planned wind farm location from the 9th August 15th October 2003. This survey was funded by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation and involved 731 hours of observations and 1937 man/hours field work conducted by 21 qualified and experienced volunteer experts from BSPBbottle-neck site. During the survey some 87,000 storks, 7,000 birds of prey and 9,000 pelicans passed through the area, the majority at heights between 0 - 120 m. All together more than 200,000 migrating birds of 122 species were observed during the survey. Other highly important conclusions resulting from the survey include:

* An intensive autumn migration of birds takes place through the location

* Predominantly species of national, European and global conservation concern migrate over the location

* The wind farm will pose a serious threat on the populations of many bird species migrating from Germany to the Urals

* As an identified IBA of Global Importance the site should be designated as a NATURA 2000 site upon accession of Bulgaria to the EU. Despite this report, and subsequent interventions by the BPSB, the Regional Inspectorate of the Ministry for Water and the Environment (MOWE) were keen to rush through a decision on the EIA and, at the final session of the Bulgarian Expert Ecological Council the BSPB was sidelined with a vote of 11-1 against. The approval of the wind farm project was confirmed on 27 October 2003. The BSPB/BirdLife Bulgaria has appealed against the decision to the MOWE and has also established an alliance of nine NGOs, which appealed to the court of justice against this administrative act. WHAT YOU CAN DO!

Within the next months it will be extremely important to muster effective public opinion against the wind farm project in order to persuade the Bulgarian government to reconsider their decision. You can do this by mailing or faxing the letter on the Proact website at http://www.proact-campaigns.net/ppsi/id40.html and/or by signing the online petition prepared by the BSPB.

4th July 2014