A well-designed and well-sited wind farm should have a minimal effect on local ecology.

As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process, local plant life and protected species, such as bats and water voles, are identified and local biodiversity is assessed to ensure that the final proposal is designed sympathetically to the local environment and wildlife.

There may be a range of legally protected and conservation-notable species in and around a site. Partnerships for Renewables normally assesses the potential for these with a habitat survey carried out in the early stages of development.

If further assessments are required, individual surveys can then be carried out for any conservation-notable species. These may include species such as:

  • Bats
  • Water voles
  • Toads
  • Newts
  • Reptiles

These surveys need to be discussed and agreed with the relevant statutory consultees on ecology and should follow ‘best practice' guidelines. 

The organisations and bodies developers consult include:

  • Natural England - statutory consultee in England
  • Scottish Natural Heritage - statutory consultee in Scotland
  • Countryside Council for Wales - statutory consultee in Wales

The surveys also need to be carried out by suitably experienced and qualified environmental consultants.

The results of these surveys are used to determine the final locations of the turbines, to ensure that they avoid ecologically-sensitive areas and that, if needed, measures are put in place to protect and preserve the wildlife.

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