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Environmental impact studies read by the author are flawed, and a confidential annex contains shocking lies bordering on cynicism. The RSPB only raises circumstancial objections, resulting in the deceit being effective - the windfarm project obtains approval to be placed in a busy eagle interacting and soaring area.

Windfarms are often set up in wilderness areas because: 1) they need vast expanses of land 2) conveniently, there are no neighbours to raise objections 3) eagles, swans and geese cannot protest.

But what of the defenders of our feathered friends, the bird societies?

I am just returning from a trip to Scotland, Northern England and Wales, where I have read a few environmental impact assessments (EIA). I knew before I went that wind turbines were lethal to anything that flies: eagles, kites, harriers, falcons, hawks, owls, swans, geese, storks, grouse, songbirds, bats etc. Thousands of deaths have been documented in the world so far*, millions go unreported. * Birds and windfarms - Bird Genocide at windfarm sites

Much effort is being made to hush-up the killings: promoters are wary that their projects may be defeated on such grounds. As a result, consultants are hired with a purpose: to prove that the turbines will not decimate the populations of endangered species living around them. Sensitive birds are handled in a "confidential annex"so that nesting locations are not disclosed to the public. But it has the added advantage that they can write anything they want.

To show you what I mean, I will give you a few examples.

1) First example*: the consultant "predicts" that eagles will stay clear of the rotors. This is based, says he, on studies about raptor behaviour in the presence of wind turbines. Shrewdly, he uses obfuscating pseudo-scientific jargon: the birds will show a "non-preference" for the turbine area.

*Supporting document (http://www.iberica2000.org/documents/EOLICA/EDINBANE/Confidential_Annex_EIA.pdf)

This is a fallacy. Golden eagles and other raptors are known to fly into the area swept by the blades, whose tips rotate at speeds up to 292 kmh*. It has been known for years that biologists contracted by the California Energy Commission have documented a yearly death rate of 40 to 60 golden eagles** at the vast Altamont Pass windfarm, plus 400 hawks, kestrels and owls each year.

* Birds and windfarms – Bird and Bat Behavior at windfarm sites.
** Birds and windfarms - Critical analysis of 4 reports on bird mortality at windfarm sites. - section 3

Other evidence that eagles are being killed is available from two different areas in Spain, and from Germany and Australia.*

* Birds and windfarms - Critical analysis of 4 reports on bird mortality at windfarm sites.

2) Other example, from the same EIA: in 60 hours of observation, 55 flights of golden eagles and 12 of sea eagles were recorded at the future windfarm site of Edinbane on the Isle of Skye. The golden eagles were flying 35% of the time within the range of height of the rotor blades; the sea eagles did it 50% of the time.

So how does the consultant handle this adverse evidence? - He "predicts" that there will be no "significant decline" in the eagle population because they fly much of the time "out with the proposed swept area of the turbine rotors".

This beggars belief. It goes beyond spin, and beyond lying. This is cynicism at its best. For what is being said is something like this: there is no problem with children crossing the dangerous highway in front of the school, because they spend 50 % of the time on the side-walk…

This is simply outrageous.

As he wrote it in a "Confidential Raptor Annex", the consultant obviously thought critical eyes would never see it. This annex was to be read only by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), and by SNH - Scottish Natural Heritage, a government agency in charge of preserving wilderness, among other social treasures; but they take their orders from the Scottish Executive, and He is very bullish on windfarms.

The RSPB, however, is independent, and the mission of its officers is to care for the birds. So it is all the more shocking that they did not object to such duplicity. Copies were leaked of letters* written by their senior officer responsible for the Isle of Skye. She was content with asking for more information on various points of detail, so as to be able to recommend appropriate "mitigation measures" (see point 3 below).

*Letters (http://www.iberica2000.org/documents/EOLICA/EDINBANE/)

She was acting upon instructions from the top management, obviously, for no conscientious ornithologist would even consider such a project. Indeed, it is a repetition on a smaller scale of the sinister Altamont Pass windfarm in California. In both cases we are dealing with an eagle dispersion area - and here we have an aggravating factor: the presence of rare and precious white-tailed sea eagles. Besides, a second windfarm is to be erected on the next ridge, also part of the same dispersion area. Its name is Ben Aketil, and we have maps* showing the flights of eagles and other protected species. The cumulative effect will be disastrous.

* Ben Aketil flight maps (http://www.iberica2000.org/documents/EOLICA/)

3) Mitigation measures.
Worldwide, it is common practice to recommend mitigation measures that will bring revenues to those who recommend it. The most frequent consists in the "monitoring" of the bird population after the windfarm is built.

Will post-construction monitoring mitigate anything? We know from the Altamont Pass experience that, having in 20 years killed up to 1000 eagles, 6000 hawks and falcons and 2000 owls, the windfarm is still operating and will continue indefinitely. This is in spite of being "mitigated" by monitoring studies, which were more beneficial to the people conducting them than to the birds.

So let´s not be fooled when we hear that the negative effects of a windfarm will be "mitigated". This is just a smoke screen. Other mitigation typically consists in recommending that a particularly poorly sited turbine be eliminated, or placed elsewhere; that the windfarm be built outside the breeding season - measures that sound good but will make little difference in the end.

4) The farcical "habitat enhancement" is another mitigation measure, one that was used at Beinn ann Tuirc and other windfarms built on known ranges of breeding eagles:

A) Destroy the eagles´hunting grounds by removing the heather and dispersing the grouse population.
B) Try and create a new grouse habitat in an area nearby, away from the turbines, planting new heather - which will not be sufficiently grown till 5 or 7 years after the windfarm is built (but who cares?)
C) Predict that the eagles will stop flying over their usual core range and go for the grouse in the "enhanced habitat".

What will happen in fact is that grass will grow after the heather is gone, and rabbits and hares will take residence under the turbines, as they normally do. The eagles will go for them, and mice will attract smaller raptors. And as the rotors kill airborne predators, prey will remain abundant and attract more of them. As in Altamont, a black hole is created: a population sink for eagles.

This is the sort of dishonest rhetoric being used to impose windfarms on eagle and other protected species´habitat, in spite of evidence that they are deadly. Indeed, a wind project at Inverliever may soon be approved on the flying path of ospreys - see a copy of the map showing their documented flights:Inverliever (http://www.iberica2000.org/documents/EOLICA/InverlieverFlightPathsMap.jpg)

There is more: a great number of windfarms will stand across migration routes - which is folly. And if policy proposal PPS22* is adopted in the UK (and it looks like it will), Nature 2000 designated areas and National Parks will not be spared.

* http://www.odpm.gov.uk

On the Isle of Skye, which is home to internationally important species like sea eagles, golden eagles, merlins, hen harriers and golden plovers, the Edinbane windfarm project has been approved. Two more stand in line, and there will be more until the islanders come to realize the damage being done to the tourism industry. Cumulative effects are barely addressed in EIA´s, if at all, and the Executive may over-ride hostile Councils when the installed capacity is over 50 Mw. The road has been cleared of obstacles; the words "protected species" have lost all meaning.

To get an idea of the cumulative effect, see the windfarm map of Scotland on: www.viewsofscotland.org (click: impact maps). Look at it, and try and imagine a flight of whooper swans arriving from the Arctic, probably at dusk, possibly in the rain, going down to make a landing…

The map is only an indication of things to come. There will be more, as long as taxpayers keep paying generous subsidies. The consumers will feel the pinch later, as they do now in Denmark (household electricity bills are 100% higher than in the UK).

The tactics of the wind industry, and governments that promote it, is to ignore the cumulative effects. Each project is to be judged "on its own merits". This effectively amounts to a free-for-all.

A case in point: the Beinn ann Tuirc windfarm, in the scenic region of Argyll, was approved through the following illegal* justification: if the breeding pair of eagles on whose range the "farm" is built happens to be killed by the blades, this will only represent 0,25% of the UK population of 400 pairs.

* it is illegal to kill golden eagles, even 0,25% of the population.

But 2 more "farms" were built in Argyll, on other eagle ranges. And for Edinbane, the consultant used Argyll as a precedent saying he estimates the risk for eagles to be no greater "by an order of magnitude" than in other windfarms in Argyll. This is what is meant by "on its own merits": cheat, divide and conquer; ask for 0,25% and then take what you want.

The Outer Hebrides is another Scottish jewel renowned for its wildlife. As an eagle habitat, it is equally important to the UK and to Europe as the Isle of Skye. It is also first port of call on a number of migration routes from Iceland, Greenland and the Arctic. Will this internationally important archipelago be spared?

- Not at all: a first batch of 600 giant turbines is in the pipeline already for Lewis, the biggest island. It will have a devastating impact on resident and migrating bird populations, on the National Scenic Area, on the Peatlands SPA and Natura 2000 site, and on the people of Barvas, Eishken, Galson, Pairc and Stornoway. Projects are considered one by one "on their own merits": the cumulative effect is never addressed.

As usual, the tactics of divide and rule are being applied. AMEC, Beinn Mhor Power, British Energy, S & S Energy Group, and the already defunct TXU, all have defied the fundamentals of habitat and species conservation: cumulative effect and precautionary principle. The Scottish Executive, through SNH, condones this disregard.

Do we hear the RSPB complain? - We don´t, because its top management strongly supports wind energy. They claim it will slow down climate change. But new evidence indicates that windfarms will save little or no greenhouse gases.*

* Windfarms do not save on greenhouse gases.

It is therefore legitimate to wonder if other considerations may be playing a role in their attitude. This one for instance:
www.southernelectric.co.uk/home/home_rspb_energy_welcome.asp?sMenu=rspb (go to page bottom, enter 1.000.000 (customers) in first square, move curser to 6 (years), press the equal sign, and see the millions of pounds that will flow to the RSPB).

Their part of the bargain is to lend their name to the scheme - "RSPB energy" - and to strongly advocate the development of renewable energy, i.e. mostly windpower at this time.

Although claimed to be "green" energy, it is not - for it hardly saves on harmful emissions (see above). If it must be given a colour, I think "red energy" would be more appropriate, in view of the 1,000 eagles and millions of smaller birds already killed - and the many millions to come.

By the way, here is the presentation given by Dr. Shawn Smallwood and Carl Thelander at the National Wind Coordinating Committee meeting in Washington, DC on
November 18, 2003: pictures are better than 1000 words
Smallwood (http://www.iberica2000.org/documents/EOLICA/ALTAMONT/Altamont_Smallwood_report.pdf) Note: it is a 7 megabytes document, with pictures of dead eagles etc.

And a lawsuit has been filed against those responsible for the killing of eagles and other protected birds by the windfarm - see: Altamont lawsuit (http://www.iberica2000.org/documents/EOLICA/ALTAMONT/Altamont_lawsuit.pdf)

Mark Duchamp ..............................December 2003

Postscript: following the release of this article, an officer of the RSPB declared to the press that they would seek to stop one of the Lewis island projects. No word was said about all the others.

more information on our webpage:

- The negative effects of windfarms: links to papers published by Mark Duchamp

Related información on Internet: click

- www.oism.org/pproject
(19.000 scientists speak-up against the theory of anthropogenic global warming)

- www.co2science.org
(web page on CO2)

- www.ecotrop.org
(web page on Kyoto)

- www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n0304/05climate
(Harvard scientists speak-up against the theory of anthropogenic global warming)

- http://www.sepp.org/leipzig.html
(Declaration of Leipzig against the theory of anthropogenic global warming)

>> Autor: Mark Duchamp (27/12/2003)
>> Fuente: Mark Duchamp

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