FENLAND: New research boosts likelihood of more wind turbines because of lack of threat to wild life

FENLAND S likelihood of getting more wind turbines has been boosted by a study which shows the threat to wild life may have been over stated. Researchers from Newcastle University studied large tracts of the Fens to come up with their conclusions that win

FENLAND'S likelihood of getting more wind turbines has been boosted by a study which shows the threat to wild life may have been over stated.

Researchers from Newcastle University studied large tracts of the Fens to come up with their conclusions that wind turbines do not drive birds from surrounding areas.

Conservation groups have raised fears that large birds could get caught in the turbines and that the structures could disturb other species.

But scientists found only one of the 23 species studied, the pheasant, was affected during their survey of two wind farms in eastern England.


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However the results of the survey are unlikely to appease many Fenland farmers, two of who claimed last year that the Coldham wind farm had driven wildlife from the area.

Farmers Jack Scott and Chris Clark said since the first turbines arrived at Coldham birdlife- including bitterns, green plovers, marsh harriers and even migrating quails- had diminished.

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Newcastle University's findings are published in the Journal of Applied Ecology and could help boost the number of wind farms.

"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," Mark Whittingham whose team from Newcastle University carried out the research.

"This should be welcome news for nature conservationists, wind energy companies and policy makers."

The survey studied the impact of two wind farms on about 3,000 birds including five species of conservation concern -- the yellowhammer, the Eurasian tree sparrow, the corn bunting, the Eurasian skylark and the common reed bunting.

The researchers recorded the density of birds at different distances from the turbines and found that aside from the pheasant, the structures posed no problems.

The study did not look at the danger of the birds colliding with the turbines, which has been a worry of conservationists, Whittingham said.

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