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UK's largest nature conservation charity objects to wind farm application

Andrea Gear

October 29th, 2013

The RSPB's reaction to a wind farm application in Scotland's Flow Country demonstrates that supporting green energy is not always so straightforward ...

To consider something like this in such a vital home for nature is very disappointing. It cannot be allowed to proceed.

The Scottish Government has committed to an ambitious target of generating the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewables by 2020. In order to meet this target Scotland's wind potential will need to be harnessed, a fact that has generated a lot of investor interest. The enthusiasm of energy companies to jump on the green energy bandwagon has led to a huge rise in the number of wind farm applications over the last 18 months. 

One particular application, for a 47 turbine wind farm in Scotland's 'Flow Country', has been described by the UK's largest nature conservation charity as ‘one of the most worrying it has ever seen'. RSPB Scotland has formally objected to the application, which they claim will damage a prime example of one of the world's rarest habitats - peatland. Peatland habitat provides an important store for carbon, and in this instance is also home to rare and endangered breeding bird species including the golden eagle.

Concerns have also been raised by the Peatlands Partnership, which includes NGOs, academic institutions, government departments and representatives from the local community, that if the application is approved it will undermine their vision to restore huge swathes of precious blanket bog within the Flow Country, for which the Scottish Government pledged £15 million only last month.

Stuart Housden, Director of RSPB Scotland, acknowledged that "wind farms play a vital part in tackling climate change" but went on to criticise this particular proposal from SSE, claiming that "it sticks out like a sore thumb in their current portfolio". "That they would consider something like this, in such a vital home for nature is very disappointing. It cannot be allowed to proceed. We hope SSE reconsiders its plans or that Scottish Ministers quickly reject this application."


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