Worries over golden eagles in part prompt redesign of Scottish wind farm – Stock Market News

Worries over golden eagles in part prompt redesign of Scottish wind farm

A golden eagle photographed in Scotland. The bird of prey is protected by the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

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Plans for an onshore wind farm in Scotland have been revised after a number of concerns, including those related to how the project could affect golden eagles.

If built, the Scoop Hill Community Wind Farm will have 60 wind turbines instead of the 75 initially proposed.

The peak height of four turbines in the development, at Dumfries and Galloway, will also be lowered.

In a project update last week, the company behind the Scoop Hill community wind farm said revisions to the development had been made after “extensive and iterative discussions” with the local community and those consulted. .

“During the consultation period, comments were raised by those consulted and local residents, primarily regarding landscape and visual impacts, residential amenities, cultural heritage, dark skies and golden eagles,” said Community Windpower.

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The company said it will now submit additional documentation to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit in the spring.

“We have considered the comments raised by those consulted and the local community and have made significant and positive changes to the proposed development,” said Rebecca Elliott, Senior Project Manager for the Scoop Hill facility.

Elliott added that she looks forward to “discussing the updated proposal with the community in the coming months.”

Golden Eagle Concerns

The decision to reduce the number of turbines for Scoop Hill follows a consultation period for the project.

Those who responded to the consultation included RSPB Scotland, a conservation-focused charity. In a letter sent to the Energy Consents Unit in January 2021, she expressed her opposition to the plans.

Among other things, the letter expressed unease about the facility’s potential effect on the golden eagle, a bird of prey protected by the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

“We are very concerned about the impact this proposal will have on the golden eagle due to the risk of collision, loss of habitat, potential for complete abandonment of a territory and the impact on the sites rest,” the organization’s letter reads.

“Further, we believe that the assessment of these impacts by both construction and operation is incomplete, and as such we oppose this request,” he added. “We also have concerns about osprey and black grouse.”


The decision to downsize the Scoop Hill project represents the latest example of how concerns about the interaction between wind farms and the natural world can create barriers for companies looking to develop renewable energy projects.

In December 2022, for example, plans for a major new wind farm in Australia were approved on the condition that its turbines be taken offline for five months a year to protect a species of parrot.

The Brussels industry body WindEurope states that the effects of the projects can be avoided “by properly planning, siting and designing wind farms.”

“The impact of wind farms on birds and bats is extremely small compared to the impact of climate change and other human activities,” he adds.

In a statement sent to CNBC, a spokesperson for RSPB Scotland said it had “no direct communication with Community Windpower about the golden eagles, only submitting our response to the wind farm application in January 2021 “.

“The applicant contacted in November 2022 to provide an update indicating that additional work had been undertaken, including proposed changes to the design and layout of the wind farm,” they added.

“However, no further details have been provided at this time, so we have not yet been able to fully review the changes.”

“We understand that full details have not been released on the revised proposals, so we do not yet know if this revision could address our concerns,” the spokesperson continued. “We will carefully review the amended proposal, particularly as it relates to golden eagles.”

The spokesperson added that although the RSPB Scotland supports renewable energy generation, wind farms “must be carefully sited and designed to avoid unacceptable impacts on species of most conservation concern”.

“Some research suggests that golden eagles avoid areas where wind farms have been built, so they are then moved from the area,” they added.

The organization was aware of at least three collisions involving golden eagles and wind farms located in Scotland, but noted that there were “no systematic records of collisions, so this number could be higher for golden eagles and other species”.

“A major concern with Scoop Hill is likely to be the loss of available land that golden eagles would have access to, where they can forage and find food, which could result in existing territory being abandoned,” the spokesperson said. .

Community Wind Power did not respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the RSPB’s remarks before this article was published.

Worries over golden eagles in part prompt redesign of Scottish wind farm

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