Ann McCall RSPB Scotland: The threat to wildlife posed by climate change should not be underestimated. A third of Europe’s seabirds breed here in Scotland but already populations are in decline, with climate change suspected to be the main driver of this worrying trend. Many other species, from our mountain tops to our lowland farms, are under increasing pressure from a changing climate and are struggling to survive. It is for this reason that the RSPB has been campaigning hard for many years to reduce such threats. While the solution may look simple, the reality is quite complex. Of course, the RSPB remains a firm supporter of renewable energy, including of wind farms both on and offshore. So far, unlike in many other parts of the world, the growth of the renewable industry in Scotland has happened without killing large numbers of birds. This has been crucial to ensure that public support for wind farms rema ins high. But our support for the renewable industry is not unqualified. To pursue developments that would kill many thousands of puffins and gannets every year, some of our most loved species, seems a crazy way to retain public support for any industrial sector. A report released by ministers when four large wind farms off the east coast of Scotland were approved indicated that 1,169 gannets would be killed every year, along with 1,251 puffins and hundreds of kittiwakes and other seabirds. It warned that puffin numbers at the affected colonies would drop by 25 per cent and gannets by 21 per cent. This scale of impact on seabirds from wind farms would be globally unprecedented.
Times 6th June 2017 read more »