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Last Updated: Wednesday June 08 2005 13:26 GMT

Wind farms 'a low risk to birds'

Wind turbines at sea
Wind farms built in the sea are not a big threat to birds flying in the area, according to a Danish study.

The report says that less than 1% of ducks and geese fly close enough to the huge turbines to be at risk of accidentally flying into them.

Most birds seemed to fly around the wind farms, or weave in-between the turbines, suggesting that migration flight paths were not affected either.

But experts warn large offshore wind farms could harm birds in other ways.

Feeding area threat

David Gibbons, head of conservation science at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), said it was mainly good news but said big wind farms could interfere with feeding areas.

On Wednesday plans to build what would be the world's largest wind farm in the Thames Estuary were put forward, and Mr Gibbons said this could harm local bird populations.

Wind turbines at sea
He said: "The proposed London Array farm in the Thames Estuary would, for example, cover more than 200 sq km.

"This is a very important feeding area for the red-throated diver, which could suffer from being displaced."

Mr Gibbons called for more research into offshore wind farms.

Huge wind farm plans

If the Thames Estuary wind farm plan goes ahead 270 turbines would be built 12 miles off the coasts of Kent and Essex, providing electricity for three quarters of a million homes.

If permission is granted, the first turbines would go up in 2008.

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