The Golden Eagle in Scotland – what future awaits these iconic raptors in the 21st Century?

For thousands of years the Golden Eagle has survived against all the odds, finding safe refuge in one of Scotland’s most rugged and beautiful landscapes in the Western Highlands of Argyll. Here amongst the isolated glens of Glen Coe’s peaceful Blackmount Forest as many as eight pairs of Golden Eagles have continued to raise their families unmolested, despite all that our modern society continues to thrown at them.

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Buachaille Etive Mor, Argyle 

 [singlepic id=381 w=270 h=181 float=left]The Blackmount and Glen Coe regions are so mountainous that they are totally unsuitable for shooting driven grouse; as a result, for over two hundred years, estates in these regions have had to focus their commercial sporting interests almost entirely on deer stalking. As the Golden Eagle is not regarded as a major threat to the Red Deer in the two regions, Golden Eagles have remained comparatively free from human persecution. The situation is very different for the Golden Eagles which nest in the Central, Northern and in the Eastern Highlands. In these areas driven grouse shooting is far more commercially viable and, even in the twenty-first Century Golden Eagles continue to be heavily persecuted upon most of these Highland Red Grouse moors.

Figures produced by the RSPB conclude that since 1989, at least 50 Golden Eagles have been shot or poisoned in Scotland. Many regard this figure as just the tip of a much deeper iceberg bringing shame on Scotland’s reputation. One raptor expert who wishes to remain anonymous recently admitted he believed the situation in Scotland resulting from poisoning and shooting of raptors would never be resolved and populations would never recover.   [singlepic id=80 w=280 h=210 float=right]

Poisoned Immature Golden Eagle

In a previous article published by Raptor Politics, John Graham claimed  “climate change would not kill raptors but the Government’s policies would .” Whether John’s claims are valid or not, climate change in the Highlands of Scotland is certainly taking place. These important changes are causing problems for many of Scotland’s upland birds, including Golden Eagle, Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Short-Eared Owl, Merlin, Red Grouse, Ptarmigan and Dotterel to name a few. Climatic changes taking place in the Highlands today are certainly having an adverse effect on the biodiversity within many upland ecosystems such as the Blackmount and Glen Coe regions. Here the Red Grouse, Ptarmigan and Mountain Hare are all in decline due to the combined effects of climate change, habitat erosion and heather loss due to years of over-grazing by sheep and deer.

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Take the last two springs of 2010 and 2011 in the western Highlands, when above average temperatures were followed by much lower temeperatures and it rained almost every day for many weeks, adversely influencing the breeding cycle of many upland birds.  In 2010 the rain and lower temperatures lasted into August when conditions resembled the beginning of Scotland’s winter months of October and November. The precocial chicks of gamebirds and waders, which leave their nest nests after they hatch and forage on their own, are particularly vulnerable to such wet and cold conditiona.  For the birds that manage to survive such exstream weather patterns, they then have to contend with the parasitic tick which are passed on from Mountain Hares, sheep or Red Deer.

 [singlepic id=112 w=319 h=335 float=left]This year in the Glen Coe area the number of Golden Eagle eyries containing twins was much lower than normal compared to seasons past. During a ringing visit I made to Argyll this summer, of the four ancestral Golden Eagle territories I visited only two eyries contained chicks at all. The first eyrie examined contained a brood of twins which surprisingly were only four weeks old and still in white down on the 23 June, while a second eyrie examined on the following day contained a single well feathered male eaglet almost ready to fledge. 

The  two images are of Alma, the top image shows Roy Dennis ringing Alma as a nestling, the second show Alma a few months later found poisoned .[singlepic id=199 w=321 h=240 float=right]

When visiting a third eagle territory which had existed in one of Glen Coe’s more remote glens for countless decades, I was disappointed and angry to discover an estate shooting track had recently been constructed  passing just a few hundred metres in front of the eagle’s ancestral nesting cliff at the head of this remote glen. Looking across the burn separating the track from the cliff face the remains of several old and abandoned eyries were clearly visible. Each of the huge stick constructions had been built at various intervals across the rock face which towered 50 metres above the degraded glen. In my opinion Golden Eagles are unlikely to return to this nesting site because of the track’s disturbing encroachment within such a secluded area. What I discovered later was even more disturbing. In Scotland estates are not obliged to consult with any statutory authorities before building such tracks across their properties; even where such an installation can result in the foreseen disturbance of nesting Golden Eagles.

 [singlepic id=263 w=300 h=440 float=left]The remains of a fourth abandoned eyrie was located perched on a wide ledge at the apex of a 40 metre high granite slab forming the channel for an impressive waterfall cascading into the glen below. The waterfall resembled a weeping sentinel looking out across a sterile glen that until recently had been a productive and healthy ecosystem. Today the biodiversity within the glen has been destroyed by an intrusive commercial forestry plantation engulfing the entire length of this once unspoilt wilderness area. Apart from the Red Deer, any wildlife species that previously inhabited this glen providing a vital food source upon which nesting eagles depend have now disappeared, destroying an eco system which should have been protected. 

The corpse of one of three Golden Eagles, all of which were found poisoned on the Skibo Estate in just a single year.

Stuart Housden, director of RSPB Scotland, recently said: “Golden Eagles require large home ranges, which can be affected by land use changes such as poorly located forestry planting, loss of prey such as rabbits and hares, wind farms and – sadly- continuing persecution.”

On 28 October 2010, following the consultation on six new Golden Eagle Special Protection Areas (SPA’s) which took place from 13 January 2010 – 7 April 2010, Scottish Natural Heritage announced that all six additional SPA’s were formally classified by Scottish Ministers adding to the eight SPA’s which already exist in Scotland.

Taking the combined totals of 141 Golden Eagle territories that existed in 2003, each of which are now located within the fourteen designated Scottish Golden Eagle SPA’s, of the 440 estimated totals of Golden Eagle territories in Scotland, just 32% of these territories are currently protected by the recent Golden Eagle SPA classification. This means as many as 299 Golden Eagle territories (68%) remain outside the Scottish Golden Eagle SPA’s altogether.

 The six new Scottish Golden Eagle SPA’s together cover an area of 400,000 hectares in northern and western Scotland and are named as follows:

 

  • Cairngorm Massif – 26 active territories in 2003, representing approx 5.8% of the GB population.
  • Foinaven – 6 active territories in 2003, representing more than 1.4% of the GB population.
  • Glen Affric to Strathconon – 10 active territories in 2003, 2.2% of the GB population.
  • Glen Etive & Glen Fyne –19 active territories in 2003, more than 4.2% of the GB population.
  • Jura, Scarba & the Garvellachs – 9 active territories, more than 2.0% of the GB population.
  • Moidart & Ardgour –11 active territories, representing more than 2.4% of the GB population.

 SPA’s for Golden Eagles which existed in Scotland prior to 2010 are as follows:

 

  • Caenlochan in the Grampians – 6 active territories in 2003, representing 2% of the GB population
  • Cairngorms – 12 active territories in 2003, representing 3 % of the GB population.
  • Caithness & Sutherland Peatlands – 5 active territories in 2003, representing 1 % of the GB population.
  • Cnuic agus Cladach Mhuile (Mull Coast & Hills) Cuillins on Skye – 9 active territories in 2003, representing 2 % of the GB population.
  • Lewis Peatlands – 6 active territories in 2003, representing 2 % of the GB population.
  • North Harris Mountains – 7 active territories in 2003, representing 2 % of the GB population.
  • The Isle of Rum – 4 active territories in 2003, representing 1 % of the GB population.
  • *Cullins – 11 active territories in 2003, representing 3 % of the GB population.

 *Site boundaries still to be determined and thus details may change.

On the 15 July 2011 Scottish Ministers finally rejected the wind farm development proposed on land at Stacain, near Inverary. Scottish Ministers concluded that, having taken all relevant considerations into account when reaching their decision, they were unable to ascertain that the proposed development would not adversely affect the integrity of the Glen Fyne and Glen Etive Special Protection Areas set aside for the long-term protection for Golden Eagles in Scotland.

The decision taken by Scottish Ministers represents an important milestone for the future safety and security of Golden Eagles in parts of Scotland. The fourteen  Golden Eagle SPA sanctuaries which have now been established should in the future make it more difficult, if not impossible, for wind farms developers to locate wind farms upon or close to current SPA’s like Glen Fyne or Glen Etive. In the future wind farm objectors would stand a much better chance of preventing the location of wind farm developments close to or within SPA’s using the argument for rejecting the proposed development at Stacain.

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There is a black cloud over wind farm developments in Scotland caused by issues few estates or developers would wish to discuss openly. Money and lots of it is one of the best motivators I can think of for getting rid of a few hundred troublesome birds of prey which are standing in the way of an estate making millions of pounds from a wind farm development. There will be very few estates that will stop to consider for one moment the potential penalties for their illegal actions, especially when they already know the chances of being caught and convicted are slim, and the penalties if they do are inadequate and offer little deterrent.

Taken as a whole, the creation of the new Golden Eagle SPA’s in Scotland is a step in the right direction and should have a lasting and positive impact on the population of Golden Eagles within each of these important regions in the years to come. However this should be viewed with some caution as the classification of habitats as an SPA  does not necessarily guarantee the breeding successes or survival of raptors within these specially protected areas.

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A prime example is the demise of the Hen Harrier throughout England’s uplands, a large proportion of these regions of course are already classified as SPA’s and SSSI’s. Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland is one of these areas, and yet disappointingly grouse predating raptors like Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Short-Eared Owl and Goshawk continue to be persecuted.

This year in the Forest of Bowland, regarded as England’s core breeding area for Hen Harriers, only 4 successfull breeding pairs were recorded. Each of the productive territories were confined to a single estate. Peregrines in the region fared much worst with fourteen territories this season failing to produce any young at all, a 74% failure rate. Central Government even allowed the building of a large wind farm over-looking the Lune Valley at Caton Moor located 6km inside the Forest of Bowland’s AONB and close to the SPA and SSSI, after the local Council rejected the application.

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There is potentially much worse to come with a second and much larger wind farm development planned at Claughton and Whit Moors, even closer to important moorland habitat within the Bowland cartilage classified as an SPA and SSSI. Natural England, the RSPB, the Wildlife Trust, and County Ecologists have all maintained objections to the latest application. Only the Environment Agency has caved in with requirements for conditions which will never be enforced.  The local Council refused this planning application unanimously (including the Green Party members), however the developer has appealed and a Planning Inspector from Bristol and the Secretary of State will ultimately decide the outcome.

It is I feel significant to read what the Conservative party had to say before coming to power in 2007 about the proliferation of wind farms and the damage they are causing to birds of prey. “The rapid spread of wind farms in Britain – encouraged by Government subsidies (Labour) for renewable energy projects – poses a grave threat to birds of prey.” This statement just underlines the hypocrisy of members of Parliament once they are elected to Government.

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Recently farmers in Ireland, who support a wind farm development in one location, stated they regard the Hen Harrier as a hindrance. They also claimed they would shoot all Hen Harriers they found if the wind farm project they supported was brought to a halt by the anti wind farm protestors.

Wind farm planning decisions are always going to result in polarised and contentious opinion no matter which side of the argument you support. However bad planning decisions where the interests of rare and threatened wildlife resources are suspiciously over-looked is inexcusable.

Sigrid Rausin who owns the Coignafearn estate in Scotland’s Monadhliath mountains claimed in 2010 the £100 million, 33-turbine project on the neighbouring Dunmaglass estate, which has now been approved by Scottish ministers despite widespread opposition, will not only spoil one of Scotland’s wildest landscapes, the project poses a physical threat to raptors like the Golden Eagle and should not therefore have been approved. This important area is regarded by conservationists and ecologists like Roy Dennis as potentially one of the best wilderness areas for Golden Eagles in Britain. 

 [singlepic id=389 w=270 h=360 float=left]Despite this Ms Rausin claims “the Dunmaglass approval shows that where a species like the Golden Eagle have been hunted to near-extinction, protection, sadly, is irrelevant in the planning process.” She appealed to Scottish Natural Heritage, the environment agency, for Special Protection Area (SPA) status for Golden Eagles in the Monadhliaths, and believes that the failure to designate the area is damaging conservation in Scotland. 

Ms.Rausin supported by individuals like Roy Dennis is attempting to attract Golden Eagles back to her Coignafearne estate where four man-made eyries have been re-established in locations where eagles once used to breed. Two of the four eyries installed have been “built up” by immature eagles, but so far no breeding pair has taken up residence. The most likely reason according to Ms Rausin is that “individuals have flown over the estate boundary and then been killed on other estates”. “The food supply and habitat on Coignafearn is excellent for Golden Eagles, with plenty of red grouse, blue hares and red deer grallochs”. “At any one time, probably up to 12 juvenile, immature and sub-adult Golden Eagles might be present on the estate.” 

Ms Rausing claims that she had been informed by her ecologist he had observed two young satellite-tagged Golden Eagles on the site of the new wind farm at Dunmaglass.

In an interview with the Telegraph she also maintains many owners of sporting estates in Scotland took the view that they own the land, and no one has a right to interfere. She has also accused other Scottish lairds and their gamekeepers of killing Golden Eagles because they believe it is a “victimless crime”.

Alan Macintyre, project manager for the Dunmaglass wind farm, said “the development was in an area that had no environmental designation, there were no breeding eagles on the estate and there had been no known collisions between Golden Eagles and wind turbines in the UK”.  [singlepic id=209 w=537 h=389 float=centre]

The question which should be asked; how long can Golden Eagles in other regions of Scotland hang on in the face of such invasive human commercial development on top of all the additional pressures they are currently facing? In July this year the Farr and Kyllachy Estate, near Inverness was raided by a number of police officers from the Northern Constabulary. The raid was in connection with alleged wildlife crime incidents that include a poisoned White-tailed Eagle and a poisoned Golden Eagle, believed to have been discovered in June 2010, and four dead Red Kites. According to a 2005 report in The Times, Farr Estate is expected to receive profit of up to £11 million from revenue generated by the 40 wind turbines which are already operational on the estate. An additional 20 turbines are planned for installation on the Kyllachy and Farr estate Nr. Tomatin. The latest news is RWE npower renawables has requested a scoping option for this 20-turbine development.

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Glen Kyllachy Wind Farm, Nr Tomatin

Since January this year at least nineteen additional protected raptors have been found dead in other regions of Scotland, many had been poisoned. It will be interesting to establish if a correlation exists between the large numbers of iconic raptors that have been found dead on Scottish shooting estates and those locations where wind farms are being proposed and developed like the Kyllachy and Farr estate.

What chance do protected raptors have in the face of such intrusive developments and persecution backed by money, greed and power?

To follow Highland Wind Farm Activity as of May 2011 follow the attached link:  

Terry R.Pickford

North West Raptor Protection Group

 

23 comments to The Golden Eagle in Scotland – what future awaits these iconic raptors in the 21st Century?

  • John Miles

    What a mad world we live in. United Utilities has just sent me a letter informing us that we can have our power lines put under ground for a total of £5.4 million. We live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In another area of AONB (FOREST OF BOWLAND) they are erecting wind farms. Sorry folks you live in the wrong area!

  • Lyndsey

    A really fantastic article. Thank you Terry and Tim. Every MP, MSP and Councillor should be sat down and forced to read every word. Perhaps a copy should be sent to them all and the RSPB, RSPCA & SSPCA.

    Where are the protecters of our wildlife? Where is the voice of those that claim they will prevent the cruelty to the animals and birds of our country? Eerily quiet don’t you think?

  • This article made my blood boil. Where is the great Scottish pride? When people say they are proud to be Scottish, What do they mean? I certainly don’t see much of it lately. All everything is about is money. Money for doing nothing. Nobody gives a damn about what is important anymore. When it’s all gone it will be too late and I just hope these greedy land owners can hold their heads up with the rest of the people who deserve to be called proud Scots.

    Those that recognize what is important. Your heritage, your magnificent landscapes and your wonderful wildlife. Not a pocket full of money for a wee extra dram! Some of us aren’t Scottish but live here and I think we care just as much about Scotland if not more than some of those who were born here. What a sad revelation.

    When are we going to see Scotland standing up for it’s landscapes and natural beauty and everything that Scotland stand for in the eyes of the outsider -many of whom would give their right arm to live here rather than the rat race cities down south?

    It’s about time the Scots stood up for what is right and started behaving like the Welsh. They will not let foreigners come in and wreck their country without a fight and I say good on them. What a sorry state of affairs.

  • Mark Duchamp

    Raptor Politics have been requested by Mark Duchamp to post the following comment on his behalf. We are delighted to do so. Thank you Mark for taking the time and trouble in sending your comment.. Anyone else out there in the world who finds a problem with posting any comments, please use the “Contact Us” link. Raptor Politics

    Comment from Mark reads as follows:

    Alan Macintyre, project manager for the Dunmaglass wind farm, said “… there had been no known collisions between Golden Eagles and wind turbines in the UK”.

    The reason is simple: contrary to other countries, windfarms in the UK are NOT being monitored for dead birds. Eagles of both species (golden and white-tailed) have been killed by wind farms, but have not been officially recorded, that’s all.

    Here is an article which proves that eagles have been killed by or because of windfarms in Scotland:

    http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=3744

    More information: http://www.savetheeaglesinternational.org

  • paul williams

    This is a landowners legal way of ridding our moorlands of raptors.

  • paul williams

    Is it ok to monitor windfarms for EG:- Caton windfarm, and any other i may encounter on my travels. Is there a license required?

    • Admin

      The general public have a right to monitor the site at Caton, which we understand is on Access morland. If the owners stand in your way, it would seem they may have something to hide???? Paul don’t forget is any dead raptors are located below the turbines, get as many images as possible with precise GPS details if you can.

  • Lyndsey

    Sadly I think Paul is right about ridding our moorlands of raptors where wind farm approval is sought. No birds – nothing to show on the survey conducted by companies employed by the developers. Sharks looking after the fish farm I would say.

    What I don’t think some people realise is that we are not just talking about dead birds. Birds that are killed instantly as they hunt for food. What about the birds that have a wing tipped? The ones that spiral to the ground still alive but no longer able to fly and hunt? They suffer a prolonged and agonising death from hunger and their injuries. How many of those are not found just beneath the turbines but struggle into the heather and undergrowth to die? We can never know the extent of the destruction even if better reporting and monitoring is done. We need action now before it is too late.

  • M McKenna

    thank you for the article…what a shame that it is true…the latest in our area… there is SSSI for hen harriers, in an area where SPN want to construct a windfactory (LochRee and Glen App) …there has not been a peep from RSPB.

  • hazel

    These turbine factories are built in eagle territory. The eagle is at risk any way but even more so when a windfarm is proposed for the area.

    The RSPB are joke. They collaborate with the developers. The only way you could be sure to know how many are being killed and maimed is to tag them all like they did a red kite here in Ross-shire so a school might ‘adopt’ one. Many unrecorded deaths, what the landowner choses to do should a maimed or dead carcass be found is perhaps easy to imagine. What the fox or other carnivores may do can also skew numbers of dead or dying birds and bats.

    Our representatives from Community Councils, Regional Councils, to MEP’s , MP’s and MSP’s dance their dance with the green greedies, excepting a few like Struan Stevenson their tortured souls do not see landscape and our natural environment we so cherish but simply money.

    I hate windfarm development for its dishonesty and its catastrophic effects on landform, wildlife and infecting the communities with caring more about monetary benefit than being honest about the irreparable blight they cause.

    See the damage being done in Ross-shire and then try to understnad the complicity between environmental agencies, land owners and the developer.

  • nirofo

    Anyone remember the moratorium on windfarms that was put together by a large number of Bird Forum members and presented to the RSPB, see original forum discussions here, http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=52129&highlight=Windfarm+moritorium

    The response from the RSPB was totally predictable if not overwhelming.

    nirofo.

  • Dave

    Fully agree with you hazel, the RSPB’s role with regard to windfarms is deplorable. Raptor numbers & that of certain other species are going to be decimated in northern (upland) Britain by the onslaught of these turbine killing & crippling machines. The benifits from them are so limited it is perverse for the likes of the RSPB to collude with the developers. Its a betrayal by them both to birds & to their members.

  • Brenda

    Even where RSPB do object they can be ignored as at Strathy in Sutherland. They objected so strongly there that they dedicated a page to these windfarms on their website

    http://www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/casework/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-264548

    but it was completely ignored by Highland Council and the Planning Committee who recommended it for approval. Will the Ministers turn it down? Not on their present record. Hen harrier, merlin and golden eagle – who cares?

  • steve

    What a fantastic site, but what a very disappointing and sad story is being told here. Scotland should be ashamed of what is taking place, the Scottish people should be very concerned. Well done Terry for bringing such an intereting and informative piece of journalism to the attention of the world and keep up your good work.i look forward to reading many more interesting features with anticipation in the future.

  • Daniel Marsden

    A fantastic article Terry! A lot of time and effort has evidently been put into this. Unfortunately it makes for some sad reading and number crunching. Even more so when you start to pull apart the actual effectiveness of windfarms and indeed renewable energy sources on the whole.

    I am all for backing ‘green’ initiatives and ideas where they work. Or even if not 100% effectively, quite clearly are a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, In short, wind farms just don’t cut the mustard – or should that be the air?

    As everyone knows and understands the elements of weather are unreliable and clearly unpredictable (just ask Michael fish about tornadoes)

    But if that’s not bad enough let’s look deeper into the actual effectiveness of renewable energy and indeed wind turbines. A good 10 years ago whilst I was studying geography at school and at college it was clearly understood, expressed and indeed taught that wind turbines are a pitifully poor way to generate electricity and that their overall efficiency and contribution to the supply of energy to the national grid is minimal to say the least. I remember one point specifically, ‘if wind turbines covered the entirety of the UK land masS, inclding shorelines, they would still only be able to generate around 40% of the uks energy requirements. Unfortunately in 10 years nothing has changed.

    The sad fact remains that the problem lies with government trying to keep Brussles and indeed the EU sweet.
    Enoughs enough, time for a change of direction on these foolish, extravagant, wastes of money. Tidal energy is a constant energy which requires far more scientific research and funding along with nuclear and nuclear fission (the suns core generator) Just check this link out to see how poor windfarms really do perform. http://britain-watch.co.uk/2010/12/wind-energys-contribution-to-uk-electricity-supply/

    Once again Terry, cracking read, thank you for al your effort!!!

  • Lyndsey

    Daniel – times have changed. The energy companies send propaganda into our schools to ‘educate’ (read indoctrinate)our children. Pictures of primary school children holding hands around a turbine base. It absolutely beggars belief that children are encouraged, for propaganda, to encircle a potentially dangerous piece of industrial equipment. No wonder our young people come out of school believing that wind power will save the world.

    What about the poor polar bear on the tiny piece of ice – like a Fox’s Glacier mint advert. No text but the meaning is clear………polar bears will die if we don’t sort out global warming with renewable energy like wind power! What a joke – can’t the teachers see it or do they all believe it too?

    I would like to know how much money (if anything, of course) the energy companies give to schools that take their literature. I suspect it is a case of ‘Get ‘em when they are young’. Innocent minds ripe for learning.
    Take a look at :
    http://www.hi-energy.org.uk/Education/Primary-School-Factsheets.htm
    http://www.alienergy.org.uk/education.html
    http://www.scottishpowerrenewables.com/pages/education_pack.asp

    Maybe the time is right to challenge this. Parents everywhere should be horrified – let’s tell them.

  • John Miles

    Lyndsey – Global warming is nothing to do with wind farms. Everyone knows that. As far as polar bears – There main food are seals and if there is no ice the seals will pup on land as our seals do in Britain making it easier for the polar bear to find food.

    • Peter Chambers

      Well done for writing a very honest and damming piece about the wind-farm industry in Scotland and Northern England. Raptors are indeed being ‘cleansed’ from potential sites prior to the environmental impact assessment being carried out. Every electricity consumer in UK is paying an increased tariff for their energy in order to subsidise developers, operators and land owners. Little wonder so many companies have been set-up. It makes my blood boil!

      Thanks for highlighting too the scandal that is Farr & Kyllachy Estate.

  • sh23363

    Once upon a time I was told a story by an ornithologist who earned a crust doing surveys.

    He found himself in Scotland working for one of the big consultancies on a project looking at the impact of a electricity cable/pylon route through the Highlands. Not a wind farm, but related.

    He returned after a fews days survey, reporting sightings of harriers, eagles etc only to be told ‘the client won’t like that!’.

    Needless to say he didn’t work for that shower again and, perhaps, for their part they had the perspicacity to employ someone who had poor powers of observation the next time.

    Development of wind energy is just the latest in a long line of schemes to direct public money to private landowners. And there is good money to be made in the consultancy businesses doing the EIA.

  • John Miles

    This is also having a big effect on land prices where turbines may be erected so is it not time to name a shame these so called naturalists doing this work many who once worked for the RSPB.

  • paul williams

    Windfarms = Greed and Raptor Cleansing, resulting in more gamebirds

  • Lyndsey

    John, Rhoda Grant Labour MSP recently said on live radio that wind farms were good for the environment and would stop climate change. Unchallenged!

    sh23363 I also spoke to an ornithologist at a wind farm exhibition about another proposed development where the extremely rare Slavonian Grebe was present. He told me he used to be involved in that proposal until he voiced his concerns over the Grebe. His services were no longer required after that.

    I’m not sure how we go about exposing this but we have to find a way to let the public and the politicians know what is happening. Some politicians may already know and choose to ignore it. I have certainly raised it many times, among other issues, with not one reply even mentioning birds.

  • Shore Foot

    Why is there no protection for the known golden eagle territory in East Sutherland?

    Excluding East Sutherland from the designated Golden Eagle SPAs is yet another example of how protection is not being given to the most vulnerable populations, or perhaps the cynic would say protecting the area for wind farm development?!

    Scottish Natural Heritage collude with wind farm developers by ignoring local expert advice. It should be recognised that SNH, as a statutory consultee, has an obligation to protect Appendix 1 birds, not a particular site. If a population of a protected species expands and the area it uses is no longer within designated boundaries, SNH has a duty to alter the boundaries. Where this has happened SNH resolutely argued that the population size or density in terms of the Natural Heritage Zone (not the protected SSSI or SPA)does not warrant any change.

    When assessing wind farm applications SNH often relies on outdated or incomplete data of its own and has to rely on the information provided by the developer as part of the environmental impact assessment. There are plenty of examples where that information either obfuscates the actual situation or is just downright misleading. Such desk based assessments are just not fit for purpose.