Wind Farms

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 4th April 2005.

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Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what her most recent estimate is of the number of wild bird deaths from each wind farm; what advice she gives to wind farm operators to protect birds; and what assessment she has made of experience from wind farms in other countries in respect of the protection of birds from wind turbines.

Photo of Mike O'Brien Mike O'Brien Minister of State (Energy & e-Commerce), Department of Trade and Industry

We do not have estimates for the number of wild bird deaths from each wind turbine in the UK. However, we are not aware of any UK wind farms that have been associated with substantial adverse impacts on birds. As part of the planning process for wind farms in the UK, developers have to provide environmental assessments of their proposals which consider impacts on a range of factors, including those related to birds. The assessments are considered by the nature conservation agencies (English Nature and the Countryside Council for Wales) and are made available for public scrutiny so other organisations such as the RSPB and local bird clubs can offer comments on the suitability of wind farm locations. The DTI advises wind farm developers to make early contact with these organisations as part of their preparatory planning for wind farm projects.

Experience from other countries shows that badly sited wind farms can have impacts on birds, for example, Altamont Pass in California where there is extensive wind development and also a high year-round raptor use which has led to high bird mortality rates. This should be kept in the context of the existing background bird mortality from collision with, for example, buildings and vehicles which is far greater.

I understand that research from Denmark suggests that birds, by day or night, tend to change their flight route some 100–200 metres before a turbine and so pass above it at a safe distance.

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