December 21, 2010
farm wildlife fears prompt formal objection from RSPB
RSPB has this week formally objected against plans for a new wind
farm near Burnham-On-Sea.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has written
a letter of objection regarding the proposals by Ecotricity to
build four wind turbines, each with a maximum overall height
of up to 120m,
on land at Poplar Farm, West Huntspill.
Archer, the RSPB's Somerset and Severn Estuary Conservation Officer,
has written to Sedgemoor District Council expressing his concerns.
Poplar Farm site lies within the broad flight corridor for birds
moving between the Severn Estuary and Somerset Levels and Moors
Special Protection Areas and wetlands. These two sites are internationally
important for ducks, swans and wading birds in winter, spring
and autumn migration."
goes on to state: "There is evidence of regular movement
of waterbirds between the two Special Protection Areas through
this broad corridor. We have met with Ecotricity to discuss our
concerns about potential bird strike issues and the longer term
barrier effects that development in this corridor may pose."
Mr Archer adds that Ecotricity has agreed with the
RSPB, Natural England and Somerset Wildlife Trust to carry out
a full radar survey of migratory birds at the site this winter
in order to get a better understanding of bird movements. EDF
has also agreed to carry out a similar study at the nearby Withy
Mr Archer urges Sedgemoor
District Council to delay a decision on the application
by Ecotricity until the results are known and says that the RSPB
is objecting to the proposals until the study's results have been
Wakefield from the West Huntspill Wind Farm Action Group told
Burnham-On-Sea.com this week: "Ecotricity's Environmental
Statement in its planning application states: 'The site does not
lie on any recognised bird migration routes and is therefore unlikely
to be utilised by significant numbers of migratory birds. Numbers
of migratory birds noted during the baseline surveys were small
and clearly insignificant.'"
Mr Wakefield claims: "This is known to be false by anyone
who lives in the vicinity and by bird enthusiasts from further
afield as well as the experts from the RSPB, Natural England and
Somerset Wildlife Trust, but apparently not by the so-called experts
that carried out the survey on behalf of the power company."
"This wall of rotating blades spread over half a mile wide
could devastate flocks of geese, swans or ducks that have the
misfortune to fly over the site."
"Ducks, such as widgeon, can travel out twice a day along
this flight path. We, as humans, can recognize wind turbine blades
moving through the sky on an axis. Birds and bats cannot, whether
hunting, migrating or just flying, on the thermals. These innocent
creatures cannot perceive the movement of the blades and consequently
wind turbines are always going to be invisible to them."
of a bird being killed by the moving blades of a wind turbine
was shown to an audience of 100 people at a wind farm protest
meeting near Burnham-On-Sea in November, as reported here.
Mike Cheshire, spokesperson for Ecotricity, told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"Having carried out over a full years worth of bird
surveys, we are confident that the site is a suitable one for
a wind park. We have been working with RSPB and Natural England
who have seen all the data collected to date, and weve agreed
to complete some further assessments on wider bird movements to
give them added comfort when making their final consideration."
"As with many things at the moment in the UK, the radar system
used is being affected by the severe weather so, after speaking
with RSPB and Natural England, the work will be delayed until
January. We were aware that RSPB intended to place this holding
objection on the application in the meantime, which will be reviewed
once they have seen the newly collected data."
Sedgemoor District Council is inviting the public's feedback
on the Ecotricity proposals by January 7th 2011.
Pictured (top) is how Ecotricity says the proposed wind farm
will look, and, above, a photomontage from the protest group and
villagers at an Ecotrocity exhibition earlier this year