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Heavily lobbied by the wind industry, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth ( who use taxpayers´ money ), and other misguided NGOs, the European Commission surprisingly shares their view that bird-killing wind turbines may be installed within nature reserves, together with their enormous concrete "shoes", their access roads, borrow pits, electrical substations, and high-tension power lines ( deadly for a great many birds of endangered or threatened species ).

In addition, considerable amounts of C02 will be released into the atmosphere as many of the selected sites are covered in peat, a valuable carbon sink ( this is the case for Scotland, Ireland etc. ).


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Above picture: griffon vulture and black kite, with windfarm in the background, near Gibraltar - courtesy of .....COCN

I sent various complaints to the European Commission over the past 5 years, blowing the whistle over greedy politicians, developers, and complacent bird societies who were threatening protected habitats and protected wildlife, as well as migration hotspots. If the EC had had any intention of enforcing European conservation laws, they would have contacted me for additional input. - But they never did.

Yet I learned that the EC are presently waiting for additional information on a crucial, most controversial project in Scotland : Edinbane. That particular windfarm is predicted to kill in excess of 200 golden eagles over 25 years ( only 15 according to the developer ), as it is located on a hill where young eagles come to hunt, soar, and interact ; observers have counted an average of one golden eagle flight per hour ( Confidential Annex to the Environmental Statement ). Young golden eagles born in the nearby Cuillins Special Protection Area will not be safe, as immature eagles roam without bounds.

White-tailed sea eagles were also observed on a regular basis on that hill, but no realistic prediction has been made as to their future mortality. Based on precedents in Germany, Norway and Japan, it is not unreasonable to expect 50 strikes over 25 years. The isle of Skye is the sea eagles´ stronghold in Scotland, but not for long if Edinbane is built.

There is a precedent for wind turbines erected in young eagles´ "dispersion areas" such as Edinbane : it´s the Altamont Pass windfarm, in California. There, scientific monitoring has evidenced the death on average of 116 golden eagles yearly ( 2,300 eagles since the plant was built in the eighties , plus 10,000 other raptors and 50,000 smaller birds ) (1).

A scientific study has shown that raptors in general, and eagles in particular, are attracted by wind turbines (2). Empirical evidence corroborates the fact : Eagles and wind farms : mortality statistics - Another study concludes that the Scottish golden eagle population is in "demographic difficulty" ; thus, any additional cause of mortality will tip the population into decline. (3)

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Cartoon criticising the Department of the Environment in Navarre, Spain - courtesy of GURELUR

There are scores of windfarm projects to be built within eagle breeding territories in Scotland, or on hills that attract young eagles . I have denounced them to the EC, warning that the Scottish eagles may face extinction if these projects are allowed to go ahead (4).

That was 9 months ago . But todate, my complaint remains un-registered (!) , without reason . From my communications with the EC, I get the distinct impression that my complaint is not welcomed, and that further input from me would upset cosy arrangements.

On the other hand, it appears that every opportunity is given to windfarm debelopers to reply to my arguments, and to bring in "new evidence" - words often associated, in the planning process, with manipulation, misrepresentation, and junk science.

The pro-Edinbane lobby will have the last word. They have been shown my arguments, but I couldn´t see theirs. The EC will be able to justify its bad decision thanks to the usual alibis : SNH, the RSPB, and Scottish ornithologist Malcolm Ogilvie.

It does not seem to matter to the EC that SNH has been caught using deceptive methods while supporting ill-sited windfarm projects - see --> The shame of Scotland

It does not seem to matter to the EC that the RSPB has a major conflict of interest regarding windpower, and that UK bird life is hurting as a result - see --> RSPB executives are causing severe harm to bird life

And it does not seem to matter to the EC that Malcolm Ogilvie does not oppose the killing of hundreds of eagles ( plus many other rare birds ), nor does he oppose the destruction of valuable carbon sinks (peat), or the industrialisation of protected bird habitats, as long as his employer ( the government ) may tap small amounts of unreliable energy where eagles fly*.

--> * Edinbane, for instance, will produce uncontrolably about 0,3% of the electricity generated by the Drax power plant. Is it worth killing 250 eagles, ruining a haven for wildlife ( the isle of Skye) , stronghold of the Scottish eagles, for such a minimal amount ? - It boggles the mind.

Ogilvie goes as far as supporting a fatally flawed "scientific" report on Scottish eagles and windfarms, one that makes a mockery of science . The said report has been exposed for what it is : 1 - REASONING LIKE POACHERS and 3 - THE CORE-RANGE MANIPULATION -->The shame of Scotland

His defence is based on the following argument : "...it would never have been published in a prestigious peer-reviewed paper" (5) Another way to put it : bad science becomes acceptable if it is published in a heretofore reputable paper. - A little thin, when the critique is so devastating, and based on elemental logic.

Years of arguing with Malcolm Ogilvie on the Wind_Turbines_Birds forum has brought into the open his lack of objectivity and intellectual honesty. His credibility among ornithologists is no longer what it was, and I have asked him to resign a number of times.

Back to the pending EC decision on Edinbane : I would have liked to have a chance to look at the arguments presented by the pro-Edinbane lobby. I have been in this long enough to know how spurious they can be. But by the looks of it I won´t be given the opportunity. The Scottish eagles will die because the EC spurned their defender, thus evidencing prejudice .

It won´t be the first time. The EC has allowed windfarms to be built in a number of protected bird habitats all over Europe. I had tried, for instance, to bring to their attention the scandalous windfarm plan of the Valencian government, in Spain, which threatens the survival of the Bonelli´s eagle as a species. - But it´s been as if I had been talking to myself.

Today, windfarms are sprouting in Natura 2000 areas all over the provinces of Castellón and Valencia. The bodies of over 177 protected griffon vultures have been found officially since October 2006 ( 220 as estimated by local ecologists ), killed by wind turbines in the north of Castellón province (6). There are other victims as well, but information has been scarce : a blanket of opacity has been laid over the matter ( not unlike Smola windfarm, Norway, which already killed about 20 white-tailed sea eagles ).

The next large-scale victim of EC policy is likely to be the beautiful and unspoilt region of Extremadura, Spain, where 100 windfarms and 130 solar plants are planned. It will involve the construction of thousands of kilometers of power lines across the steppes where thousands of cranes and great bustards had found a place where they could survive. These great birds will be decimated. - In fact, the massacre already started in Andalusia Windfarms - the bird massacre continues. and in Aragón.

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Above picture: Germany has been "turbinised", and has about 20,000 such giant bird traps, plus thousands of kilometers of new power lines to link the windfarms. These lines are known to kill 200-500 birds per kilometer per annum. see -->Windfarms - the bird massacre continues.

Isn´t it surprising that the European Commission, who set up a network of nature reserves across Europe, and laws to protect threatened bird species and their habitats, would so rapidly turn its coat, letting industrial interests target these protected areas ?

The new philosophy prevailing in Brussels, it transpired, is the following : nature reserves are not meant to stifle development. - This is the reversal of 100 years of conservation efforts, no less. With this line of reasoning, why not put windfarms in the Lake District, or on the Kilimandjaro ? And what about geothermal plants in Yellowstone ?

The EC is showing its true colours, and they aren´t pretty.

In exceptional cases of overriding public interest, the Wild Birds and Habitats Directives still require developers to prove that there is no alternative site to a Natura 2000 area. - But EC officials conveniently forget that clause.
They readily violate their own law.

The EC does not even question the allegation of overriding public interest. - Yet there is no evidence that windfarms save fuel and reduce C02 emissions, when everything is considered . In fact, polluting coal-fired power stations are being built in Germany and France to cushion the erratic production of wind turbines, 24 hours a day. More C02 is being emitted in the process.

At Edinbane, Ben Aketil, Eishken, Pairc, and other Scottish windfarm locations, vast amounts of peat will be destroyed as the land is drained, access roads are built, borrow pits are opened, wind turbines and power lines are installed. Peat, as we know, is a carbon sink, which the EC itself recognises as helpful in the fight against global warming. As peat dries out, it releases C02 into the atmosphere, to the point where the overall GHG effect of the windfarm is negative (7). - Does the EC care ?

Last minute : Brussels just advised concerned conservationists of the following : individual countries will be deemed competent to decide whether or not individual Natura 2000 areas should receive windfarms .

This is a cop out. Only the naive will believe that the Scottish, Welsh, or Spanish governments will resist the monetary temptation that rides the tail of development . The EC have the means to act, through taking cases to the European Court of Justice, or just threatening to do so. But they just renounced to use their powers. - They washed their hands !

My present complaint is not only about killing European wildlife and destroying its habitat : it´s about mismanagement of resources, incompetence, dogmatism, hypocrisy, and unaccountability. A few years back, the EC has been involved in a corruption scandal of vast proportions. It is now losing the rest of its credibility, as it dawns on the unsuspecting public that the EC has given the green light to the wanton destruction of Europe´s environment.

By the way, I learned that at least 7 eagles have died or disappeared in Scotland in circumstances that could involve windfarms. Nothing was said to the public. - That will be the subject of a next article.

See also this article, which reveals the extent of the disaster to come : Windfarms - the bird massacre continues.

Mark Duchamp................................................ 17 February 2008

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



(1) - DEVELOPING METHODS TO REDUCE BIRD MORTALITY IN THE ALTAMONT PASS WIND RESOURCE AREA - Dr. Smallwood & K. Thelander, Aug. 2004. - SMALLWOOD - SEE CHAPTER 3, TABLE 3.11, 1ST LINE: "116.5 golden eagles p.a. adjusted for search detection and scavenging." - also available here: http://www.energy.ca.gov/pier/final_project_reports/500-04-052.html

(2) - " raptors spent significantly more time flying at close proximity to turbine blades ... than 51-100 m away ... or >100 m away … Analyzing the total number of minutes of flight time reveals that something about wind turbines may attract red-tailed hawks to fly near turbines and at dangerous heights. Similarly, American kestrels flew in proximity level 1 (ie 1-50m from turbine) nearly four times longer than expected by chance, golden eagles two times longer, and northern harriers three times longer. "

BIRD RISK BEHAVIORS AND FATALITIES AT THE ALTAMONT PASS WIND RESOURCE AREA, THELANDER, C. G, SMALLWOOD, K.S., RUGGE, L. - Period of Performance: March 1998-December 2000, National Renewable Energy Laboratory Report SR-500-33829, 2003. SMALLWOOD



(4) - Windfarms to wipe out Scottish eagles


Windfarms : Brussels has been warned of the risk to Scottish eagles

(5) - "...it would never have been published in a prestigious peer-reviewed paper" --> WTB FORUM

(6) - 95 griffon vultures etc.


>> Autor: Mark Duchamp (17/02/2008)
>> Fuente: Mark Duchamp

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