Offshore wind farms ‘threaten gannets’


An estimated 70,000 pairs of gannets breed on Bass Rock each year

Offshore wind farms ‘threaten gannets’

By David Miller BBC Scotland environment correspondent 28 September 2015

Offshore wind farms could pose a more serious threat to Scotland’s globally important gannet population than previously thought, scientists claim. It is thought 12 times as many gannets could be killed by the turbines than previous estimates. It follows research which showed the seabirds fly at greater heights when searching for food than other studies have suggested. That is said to increase the risk of being hit by spinning turbine blades. The calculation was made by scientists from the universities of Leeds, Exeter, and Glasgow. Sources in the offshore wind industry have told BBC Scotland they believe the research must be treated with caution because it involved only a “tiny percentage” of the gannet population on the Bass Rock. But conservationists have responded by pointing out the size of the colony means the scientists would have had to study 800 individual birds if they were to achieve a sample size of only 0.5 per cent of the population. The Scottish government approved plans for four new offshore wind farms on the east coast in October 2014. RSPB Scotland is already challenging the Scottish government’s support for the developments in the courts, after arguing they “would be amongst the most deadly for birds anywhere in the world.”….

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