1. The aim of this guidance is to assist SNH staff, when advising on a windfarm proposal for which an adverse impact on bird populations is predicted, in coming to a view as to whether that impact should be considered sufficiently significant for SNH to be concerned.
2. The guidance will assist when assessing windfarm proposals in the wider countryside, where impacts do not affect notified interests or qualifying features of designated sites (SSSI, SPA, SAC or Ramsar sites). The guidance takes account of the legal and policy obligations applying where designated sites are not affected, including obligations in the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, and National Planning Guidance (NPPG 14). A separate information paper is available which sets out how this guidance relates to European and national legislation and Government policy.
3. This guidance should not be used where impacts may affect SSSIs, SPAs, SACs or Ramsar sites. Different guidance applies, as these sites are under more specific legal obligations.
4. The guidance may be used whenever a windfarm proposal involves a potential impact on birds that does not affect designated sites, and that impact has been quantified or estimated in terms of the overall effect on the species populations. The general approach to judging significance may have wider applicability to other forms of development, such as forestry, and to species other than birds, but this guidance is tailored to the impacts of windfarms on birds.
5. The guidance should be used alongside the guidance in the SNH Environmental Impact Assessment Handbook and Appendix V of the SNH Local Authorities Handbook.
6. The guidance will be principally used at the stage of assessing a proposal. However, where an Environmental Impact Assessment is required, the guidance should also be referred to at scoping stage to help in identifying those bird species for which there is the potential for significant adverse impact and which therefore should be considered in some depth within the Environmental Statement.