".....it is highly likely that large numbers of bats are being slaughtered by turbines offshore but nobody can collect the dead bodies at sea...."
It is a little known fact that bats can be found far out at sea. Though not much is known about their maritime adventures, we do know that some species migrate across large stretches of ocean, while others spend time at sea to find food, returning to land to roost.
Yet there has been hardly any research at all into the impact of offshore wind development on these rare creatures.
Study: "...bats were attracted to the turbines...."
A Swedish study way back in 2007 found that "working wind turbines were not avoided by passing bats. On the contrary we soon discovered that some bats were attracted by the turbines." The study, which found no less than twelve species of bat in coastal areas or offshore, pointed out that if bat collisions occur with offshore turbines (as they do on land) "this is deplorable and it is a serious matter if this mortality lowers the density or wipes out local populations."
"...a clear warning that we are not doing all we should..."
Twelve years on and, shamefully, the wind industry is still ignoring the issue. We have seen a huge increase in offshore wind development yet there has been no thorough assessment of just how many bats are being killed by these giant banks of turbines.
Last year, UK ecological consultancy company Baker Consultants, suggested that there is a shocking lack of knowledge over the effects of offshore wind development on bats. "In our experience..", they said, "it is very rare that we are asked to consider bats in our approach to pre-construction surveys or impact assessments".
The company, which took part in a Conference on Wind Energy & Wildlife Impacts, pointed out the lack of research in the field. They said this was "a clear warning that we are not doing all we should to consider the potential impacts on bats from these installations."
We can only guess at the numbers of dead bats....
With practically no data at all on bat deaths caused by offshore wind farms, we can only guess at the numbers. And from the horrifying estimates we have for bat deaths at onshore developments, we might expect that the situation at sea is equally disturbing.
For the irresponsible wind energy companies, out of sight might be out of mind, because while it is highly likely that large numbers of bats are being slaughtered by turbines offshore, nobody can collect the dead bodies at sea.
It is astonishing that the massive growth in offshore wind farms around the coasts of Britain and Europe has been permitted without any understanding of the effects this industrialisation of our seas may be having on bats, many of them rare and endangered species.
And while frenzied development of offshore wind continues unabated around our coasts, we can probably add at least twelve species of bat to the growing list of endangered wildlife that is being slaughtered by the whirling blades of this nasty and under-regulated industry.
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