Much blanket peat is developed over relatively smooth ground in very windy environments, and thus offers considerable potential for wind energy conversion. This paper represents a review of likely windfarm impacts on blanket peat habitat. The review is speculative for two main reasons. First, the number and location of windfarms is not known. Scotland in May 2004 had 17 grid-connected windfarms, with a further two under construction and a large but uncertain number of applications submitted for planning permission or likely to go to planning in the next year or two. Second, given the long duration of upland habitat successions (Gilbert & Anderson, 1998; Marrs, 2003), windfarm longevity (20 - 25 years) and the effects of decommissioning, a full appraisal of windfarm impacts will probably not be possible for at least three decades.
The information presented is based on recent environmental statements submitted for planning permission. The author has contributed to 13 EIAs covering windfarms at least partly on blanket peat, and has personal experience as project ecologist (ecological clerk-of-works) for construction, ground restoration and monitoring at Novar Windfarm, Ross-shire (the first major windfarm in Scotland, built 1996-97, operating since October 1997) and at Causeymire Windfarm, Caithness (currently under construction).