This report is an update of ‘Windfarms and Birds: An analysis of the effects of windfarms on birds, and guidance on environmental assessment criteria and site selection issues’ (Langston & Pullan, 2003) that was presented to the Standing Committee at its 23rd Bern Convention Bureau meeting, and which informed Recommendation 109 (2004) on minimizing adverse effects of wind power generation on wildlife. In the ten years since the original report, there have been advances in wind energy technology and considerable further work on the science of wind energy/avian interactions. Likewise, with the rapid growth of the wind energy industry in Europe, there has been a corresponding development of the policy environment and best practice for strategic planning and project development for wind energy. This new report attempts to bring these developments together in one place to help further understanding of potential conflicts and how these can be minimized to facilitate further growth of the wind energy industry whilst protecting and enhancing Europe’s bird populations.
The report sets out best practice for the integrated planning and assessment of wind energy development in order to avoid or reduce conflicts with nature conservation interests. Vital elements include:
- Strategic planning of the wind energy industry and the use of best practice protocols for individual project site selection, to avoid or minimize conflicts with nature conservation interests;
- Robust Environmental Impact Assessment, including baseline studies, impact assessment and post construction monitoring; and
- Integrated, inclusive and iterative project development taking full account of potential interactions with nature conservation through the entire project development process.