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Call for a Moratorium on Wind Farms in UK

The Jury is still out on their energy conservation value?

More and more nature lovers, birders and professional ornithologists are concerned with the seemingly unrestricted planning and development of wind farms in regions of Britain’s most beautiful and still near-natural countryside, which usually provides important habitat and resting areas for endangered bird species. Although our big raptors such as Golden and White-tailed Eagle appear to be principally at immediate risk, many other breeding and passage species, and other flora and fauna, are or could be affected. It has therefore been decided to appeal to the largest and most influential nature protection organisation in Britain, the RSPB, to throw their considerable weight into the balance and lobby for a moratorium on further development until a long term strategic plan can be worked out and implemented. It is no coincidence that the vast majority (if not all) of the petition supporters are convinced proponents of alternative energy. Much has been said about the benefits of effectively harnessing wind energy. This, with solar and wave energy (to name but two of the many emerging alternatives) are rightly seen as a better alternative in the long term to the exploitation and burning of our fossil fuel reserves. Developments have shown however that these forms of energy production can have an adverse effect on the environment and quality of life. A particular problem is the threat to the life and habitats of birds where wind farms are planned without proper consideration of the negative environmental effects. There are numerous examples of this, ranging from the Pontic and Iberian migratory flyways, high fatalities to raptors in California or the small but significant threat to the last remaining habitats of the Great Bustard in Germany. David Conlin, of Proact International, introduces the online petition calling for the moratorium: "The increasing number of wind farm applications, in areas which contain sensitive habitats and populations of birds and other wildlife, continue to alarm many of those hoping for a reversal of the process of natural habitat degradation worldwide. Discussion on this matter often divides the concerned professionals and public into a heated polemic debate on the pros and cons of wind and other forms of renewable energy, or whether or not we need to worry about climate change. Important as this discussion is, it misses the point that habitat is being degraded on a creeping basis and protected bird and other wildlife species are threatened with irreversible population decline.

We have decided to take the United Kingdom as a test case and demand the imposition of an immediate moratorium on all sensitively sited windfarm proposals. This moratorium should remain in place until a strategic approach to applications and planning procedures is in place. Particular attention should be paid to vulnerable species such as large raptors, as well as other forms of wildlife where the sustainability of national or global populations is at risk. Our chosen target for this petition is the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). We respect the work that they have done in the past, and continue to do today; but we consider that, in this case, they should concentrate more on their traditional and primary objective of the protection of birds. Please take time to read the petition at the link below and support it with your signature if you agree with its content:
http://www.petitiononline.com/rspb0206/petition.html This is not a problem confined to the UK, and those from other countries are encouraged to support this campaign as well. We pledge to support you in return when requested and are always ready to assist in setting up such a campaign. "Bird forums and mailing groups around the world have had long and sometime acrimonious debates on the subject with opinion divided on the extent of the threat to birds. However, the environmental impact of wind farms is not just about habitat loss, danger to birds in flight or even aesthetics; the jury is still out on whether more energy is used in the construction of wind turbines than is saved over their average 20 year life. Many of us are worried that government is despoiling the countryside in the name of energy conservation but that it is mere widow dressing” Fatbirder

4th July 2014