All-Energy 2013: New renewables industry group puts birds in the spotlight

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Four of Scotland’s largest renewable firms said today they had teamed up with the Scottish Government and environmental organisations to better understand the effect of wind turbines on the bird population in Scotland.

SSE, Vattenfall, RES and ScottishPower Renewables will help fund new research by the Scottish windfarm bird steering group, which will officially be launched at the All-Energy Conference in Aberdeen.

The new funds will be added to earlier contributions from Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage and RSPB Scotland and will help the group reach their target of £450,000 to support data gathering and research over the next four years.

The proposed research, which the group said goes beyond the basic requirements of standard environmental impact assessments, aims to gather all data into a central hub so researchers and academics can understand better the interaction between bird populations and wind farms in Scotland.

Aedan Smith, head of planning and development for RSPB Scotland, said:  “We warmly welcome the practical support shown by these four companies to the work of the Scottish Windfarm Bird Steering Group. We hope that co-operation in this area between industry, SNH, Scottish Government and ourselves will get best value from data already collected, with the ultimate aim of a quicker, safer decision-making process for birds, based on the best available evidence.”

Joss Blamire, senior policy manager for industry body Scottish Renewables, said: “Having a central hub for this data means the industry is joining the dots to give researchers a fuller picture of exactly how birds interact with wind turbines.”