RenewableUK response to Exeter University report on bats and wind turbines
07 November 2016
Posted by: Rob Norris
Responding to the publication today by Exeter University of a new report on wind turbines and bats, "Ecological impact assessments fail to reduce risk of bat casualties at wind farms", RenewableUK’s Director of Policy on Consents and Intelligence, Gemma Grimes, said: “Bats play an important role in our ecosystem and onshore wind developers are strongly committed to safeguarding wildlife - over and above the benefits of wind energy in addressing climate change, which is widely recognised as a major threat to bats and other wildlife. Onshore wind projects are carefully sited and rigorous assessments are carried out.
"The wind industry has been working closely with the Government and Exeter University alongside other bodies such as the Bat Conservation Trust, for many years on a much bigger piece of research to improve our understanding of bat activity around wind farms. As a result, a Government-commissioned report was released in September, and all those involved are now working on updated guidance which will ensure that we continue to share best practice among wind farm operators, to reduce any impact even further in the future. We will continue to position and operate turbines in a way which ensures that this valuable group of species is given the protection it deserves”.
NB for information: Despite suggestions mooted in this latest report, the idea that wind farm owners should be rewarded with higher tariffs for the electricity they produce if they take steps to prevent bat deaths is not currently under discussion in the wind industry at large, as we would not expect to be rewarded merely for doing the right thing; we undertake measures to protect wildlife as a matter of course.
It is also important to understand that turbines would not be turned off, but it may be appropriate to slow them down at certain specific times to safeguard wildlife,
as stated in the research work published in September.
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