Bat Surveys at Wind Farm Sites
Bats and Wind Farms
There is increasing evidence wind turbines have the potential to have significant negative impact on bat populations in the UK and Ireland. Bat Conservation Ireland consider that that bat mortality due to wind turbines is a serious potential issue in Ireland, and it is clear that bats and their habitats need to be considered carefully during the planning, construction and operation of wind farms.
According to Bat Conservation Ireland, Leisler’s bat in particular is a high risk species in relation to wind turbines due to the fact that it flies high and fast, travels considerable distances between roosts and foraging areas, and forages in open landscapes. The Irish population of Leisler’s bat is of International Importance. All bat species can however be potentially affected by the construction and operation of wind farms.
During the construction phase of a project there can potentially be losses of roosting, foraging and commuting routes for bats. During the operation phase, there is a potential for collisions between bats and moving turbine blades and barotrauma effects. Possible changes to bat behaviour, for example avoidance of areas close to turbines, may also potentially occur.
Wind Farm Bat Survey Guidelines
The risk of wind farm developments to bats is clearly greatest if turbines are proposed for an area that bats frequently use. It is therefore important than a detailed pre-construction bat surveys are completed.
Bat Conservation Ireland have produced guidelines for bat surveys at wind farm sites, and also post-construction monitoring. We follow these guidelines where applicable, or propose a modified site-specific methodology based on these guidelines where appropriate. We also follow Natural England’s publication ‘Bats and onshore wind turbines (Interim guidance)‘.
Merlin Radar System for Bat Surveys and Mitigation at Wind Farm Sites
Our staff have received detailed operational and technical training on use of the DeTECT MERLIN radar system for wind farm pre-construction bat surveys and for operational wind farms, and are working with DeTECT and clients such as Galetech Energy, to bring this technology to Ireland.
Further details on this exciting new technology can be found on the link http://www.detect-inc.com/wind.html. We are very interested in using this technology in the future in Ireland for aerofauna, including bats.
Please contact us now if you have a requirement for a bat survey, particularly bat surveys at proposed wind energy sites.