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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 March, 2004, 05:24 GMT
Wind farm 'threat to bird life'
Windfarm turbines
Wind farms pose a threat to birds, conservationists say
Bird conservationists are warning they may fight government plans to build more wind farms around Britain.

Research is needed to avoid putting the farms where birds could be threatened by rotating blades, the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says.

There may be legal fights if sensitive sites are not avoided, the RSPB warns.

Almost all sites licensed for a second round of wind farms are in areas viewed by English Nature as potentially being of international importance for birds.

'Balanced approach'

The RSPB is calling for detailed ecological surveys of these areas and for legal protection for those that qualify under European law.

The society is currently objecting to a proposed offshore development at Shell Flat near Blackpool, an important area for seabirds.

Shell Flat, off Blackpool
Site supporting large numbers of wintering common scoters
Isle of Lewis, Western Isles
A 300-turbine wind farm planned in area supporting protected birds
Outer Thames
Area with large numbers of wintering red throated divers
Dr Mark Avery, the RSPB's director of conservation, said: "The RSPB supports increased renewable energy generation as part of a balanced approach towards tackling climate change, which we see as the greatest threat to the world's wildlife.

"However, we will object to any wind farms that seriously threaten important bird populations and their habitats."

He added: "Government aspirations for more wind farms must be supported by clearer, strategic guidance based on a better understanding of the cumulative impacts of more and more wind farms."

Dr Avery is to deliver his message this week at a conference in London, hosted by the British Wind Energy Association.

RSPB conservation officer Tim Melling
"You have to look very carefully at where you place windfarms"

Windfarm plans withdrawn
21 Jan 04  |  Devon
Windfarm turbines are approved
06 Aug 03  |  Devon
Call for offshore windfarms
02 Mar 03  |  England
Ill wind for turbines
12 Feb 03  |  England

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