Europe is faced with the need to tackle climate change and pollution and to find sustainable means to meet demands for energy generation. Thus the promotion of alternative methods for the production of energy such as wind power has been intensified. The low-emission production of wind energy brings benefits for the environment but on the other hand causes problems for wildlife, such as certain bat species. Therefore EUROBATS has developed guidelines for assessing potential impacts of wind turbines on bats and for planning, construction and operation of wind turbines in accordance with the ecological requirements of bat populations.
A first version of the guidelines was published in 2008, having the primary purpose to raise awareness amongst developers and planners of the need to consider bats and their roosts, migration routes and foraging areas. Guidelines should also be of interest to local and national consenting authorities who are required to draw up strategic sustainable energy plans. Furthermore, it was a base for national guidelines that were subsequently published in several countries.
A large amount of research has been carried out into the impacts of wind turbines on bats and the increased knowledge urged for this revision of the document. The revised guidelines are applicable to larger wind farm developments in urban as well as in rural areas, on the land as well as offshore. Some case studies were included to illustrate implementation of mitigation measures in some countries. Member countries should adapt these guidelines to their situation and prepare or update their national guidelines accordingly.