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RSPB Changes Tack On Wind

Posted in UK,Wind by Cheryl Morgan on the March 26th, 2009

Despite having plenty of good prospects for wind energy, the UK has lagged behind both other European countries and America in deployment of wind farms. The problem is well known: planning permission. NIMBYism is a major issue – the British public has got it into its head that a wind farm is a terrible eyesore than is to be resisted at all costs. However, environmental groups, including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), have also campaigned strongly against wind farms on the grounds that they are a danger to our feathered friends.

Not any more. Much to the delight of the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), the RSPB has published a report titled Positive Planning for Onshore Wind. Produced by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), the report states that risks to wildlife can be minimized by sensible planning and choice of location. Ruth Davis head of Climate Change Policy at the RSPB said:

“This report shows that if we get it right, the UK can produce huge amounts of clean energy without time-consuming conflicts and harm to our wildlife. Get it wrong and people may reject wind power. That would be disastrous.”

Actually, of course, the British people rejected wind power en masse a long time ago, and the RSPB should accept a large share of the blame for that. But it is good to see them change their stance. Possibly their minds were powerfully concentrated by the government’s enthusiasm for the Severn Barrage scheme which, if it goes ahead, is predicted to destroy large areas of wetlands that are vital to many bird species. The main advantage of the barrage, as far as the government is concerned, is the ability to get a huge amount of new generation from only one public inquiry, rather than have to fight environmental protesters in many small battles all over the country.

The full RSPB report is available here.

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