Molesworth Wind Farm Action Group
Say NO to the Molesworth Wind Farm - Bythorn, Molesworth, Keyston, Brington, Clopton, Old Weston, Titchmarsh, Catworth, Leighton Bromswold
IntroductionLandscapeA brief landscape historyVisual and other amenitiesEffect on local roadsDrainageFurther DevelopmentSubsidies for Wind Farm DevelopersOverstated BenefitsNoise & other health issuesWildlife & EcologyTV ReceptionHouse Prices / SaleabilityWhat happens next?
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Campaign Group Committee
Grounds for Objection - Noise Impact

Birds & Bats

It should be noted that RWE npower have removed one of the turbines that was originally proposed because of a bat survey that they conducted. For the time being, please do not base your objection around bats. However, there is considerable evidence (albeit contested) about harm to bats from windfarms. We are currently investigating whether it will be possible to challenge RWE npower's survey and will update the site if we can.

Birds and bats are particularly vulnerable to wind turbines. Although the blades rotate at only 15 to 30 rpm the blade tips, travelling at around 200mph, can kill both birds and bats.

A summary of bat fatalities in Europe, found the three bat species with the most fatalities recorded were noctule, common pipistrelle and Nathusius' pipistrelle, and local bat surveys have identified pipistrelles in Bythorn. Research suggests that mortality increased with turbine tower height and rotor diameter but was independent of the distance from the ground to the lowest rotor point. (BCT- Surveying for onshore wind farms - June 2011). http://www.bats.org.uk/news.php/117/wind_farm_survey_guidance_available_for_download_now_

We understand that bats particularly like areas grazed by horses, and with several paddocks around the Molesworth and Bythorn area, there is very attractive feeding ground locally.

Local bat roosts

As far as we are aware, static bat detector microphones were not installed with the meteorological mast to monitor the wind speed at the site. It is highly recommended in the Bat Conservation Trust Good Practice Guidelines that bat detector microphones are installed (one at the base and one at turbine hub height) at the same time as the meteorological mast is erected whenever possible. We need to know that this surveying work has been put in place, and if not, then we need to request that this more thorough investigation is undertaken.

Bats navigate by echo location but cannot cope with the speed of wind turbines and are most vulnerable when the wind speed is low as that is when their prey are flying. Some bats also die of shock. Many hundreds of bat deaths are recorded at wind farms in Europe.
http://www.bsg-ecology.com/newsandresources/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Bats-Onshore-Wind-Farms.pdf

The vast majority of bats found dead below turbines near one wind farm suffered severe injuries to their respiratory systems consistent with a sudden drop in air pressure - called barotrauma - that occurs when the animals get close to turbine blade Bats cannot cope well with the change in air pressure which is caused by the revolution of the wind turbine blades. In other words, bats lungs explode when they fly into the wake vortices near turbines.

http://www.ucalgary.ca/news/aug2008/batdeaths
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080825132107.htm
http://www.news.wisc.edu/19969

A recent report has concluded that the traditional white or grey colouring of turbines attracts insects and that the birds and bats which prey on them are drawn in and then killed or injured by the blades. (See BBC Earth News 15 October 2010).

Breeding species of high conservation importance exist in the area, including sky larks, song thrush, lapwing and cuckoo, all on the RSPB Birds of Conservation Concern Red List.

Buzzards and red kites regularly nest in the area, and both species successfully rear chicks within the designated wind farm site.

There is ample observation evidence of barn owls flying, and probably nesting, in close proximity to Bythorn. The barn owl is a good indicator of ecologically rich areas; good barn owl habitat means good habitat for a range of other animals and plants. The barn owl has the following protection:

  • Protected by law under Schedules 1 and 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Protection against disturbance enhanced under the CROW Act 2000.
  • Listed in the EC Birds Directive and Listed under Appendix II of the Bern Convention.
  • Amber Listed in "Birds of Conservation Concern" (RSPB et al. 1996) as a bird of unfavourable conservation status in Europe, stated to be in "moderate decline".
  • Listed as globally threatened on the UK Biodiversity Steering Group " Report (1995) "Long List"

Barn owls and raptors such as red kite and buzzards are likely casualties because they focus on ground prey and not on airborne turbine blades. They may drift into the blades unawares.

Woodlarks, mistle thrush, house martins and green woodpecker are resident in the area. These are noted as being Amber Status by the RSPB.

The site is in close proximity to Titchmarsh nature reserve, and migratory birds travelling between Paxton Pits and Grafham Water must be considered. The existence of any bird migratory routes in proximity to the proposed site must be clearly defined to ensure that migrants will not be put at risk.

Even if not killed, it is possible for birds and bats to change their behaviour and avoid dangerous areas - with possible implications for bird migration patterns.

Animals

Domesticated animals (including livestock, pets and horses) may be affected by noise - particularly ultra low-frequency transmissions from the turbines. Concerns have been expressed that this could be detrimental to successful livestock breeding. British Horse Society advice can be viewed here, or by following this link and then opening the pdf file (currently the second item on the list).

Great Crested Newts

A colony of this protected species exists at Molesworth base and features in the MOD's Conservation Update brochure of Summer 2008.

Due to its continued military use since WWII, land at RAF Molesworth represents a time capsule of around 100 hectares of unimproved grassland, set in a region of intensive agriculture. 3 hectares of this grassland are classified as a County Wildlife Site, with a significant area (approximately 25 hectares) close to a similar standard.

Any loss of wildlife will detract from the amenity of people enjoying the countryside.

18 November 2017
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Latest Planning Documents
Planning Reference: 1200967FUL






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    Disclaimer
    Please note that the content of this web site represents the views and opinions of the STOP MOLESWORTH WIND FARM committee and our members. Although we have tried to be as accurate as we can in relaying facts on the subject of this proposed development and the industrial wind industry in general, we cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies found therein. If you believe any content to be incorrect or inaccurate please let us know.

    We would like to thank all the other wind farm opposition groups who have helped us with ideas.