Fears that wildlife, particularly birds, is affected by wind farms have been allayed in a new study which shows that turbines have little impact on them.
“This should be welcome news for nature conservationists, wind energy companies and policy-makers”,
the report from the UK’s Newcastle University said, adding that carbon-free wind power is also helping to fight global warming.
When wind power was in its infancy three decades ago, some groups raised concerns that endlessly whirling turbines could kill massive numbers of birds.
The siting of some early wind farms, especially on migratory routes in the United States, did result in an unusually high number of bird deaths. However, much has been done since then to make wind farms far less threatening to avian species.
Mark Whittingham, the study team leader, said: “This is the first evidence suggesting that the present and future location of large numbers of wind turbines on European farmland is unlikely to have detrimental effects on farmland birds.”
The study said the 16 wind turbines monitored did not affect the distribution of four groups of wintering farmland birds (seed-eaters, corvids, gamebirds and Eurasian skylarks). Monitoring the four groups at differing distances from the turbines, the study found no evidence to suggest the birds avoided areas near the machines. It added that the probability of locating common pheasant, the largest and least manoeuvrable species, increased as the distance from a turbine became greater.