06 September 2013
The RSPB and Ecotricity, Britain’s first green energy company, have submitted a planning application for a single wind turbine at the wildlife charity’s headquarters, The Lodge, near Sandy in Bedfordshire.
If the application is approved, the wind turbine could be installed from autumn 2014 onwards and would measure 100m at its highest point.
The turbine is predicted to produce the equivalent of up to two thirds of the RSPB’s total UK electricity needs.
The RSPB believes that renewable energy is an essential tool in the fight against climate change, which poses the single biggest threat to the long term survival of birds and wildlife.
Paul Forecast, Director of the RSPB in the East, said: “A wind turbine at our UK headquarters is the single biggest step we can take to reduce our carbon emissions, and will make a significant contribution to the RSPB’s carbon reduction targets.
“We can already see the impact that climate change is having on our countryside with saltmarsh and mudflats declining at a rate of 100 hectares per year in England. It is our responsibility to protect the rest of our environment for future generations.”
Ecotricity and the RSPB have undertaken comprehensive environmental assessments and believe that the location satisfies all planning requirements, including landscape and ecological constraints, and is therefore an appropriate location for a single wind turbine.
Paul continued: “We have been conducting assessments over the last 18 months on all aspects of the wind turbine proposal and how it could affect the surrounding area. These assessments analysed potential impacts that include landscape and visual amenity, cultural heritage, ecology, ornithology, hydrology, noise, transport, access, and shadow flicker. Data has confirmed that there is unlikely to be any significant impact on local residents or wildlife.
“We hope that by installing a wind turbine at our UK headquarters, we will demonstrate to others that, with a thorough environmental assessment, the correct planning and location, renewable energy and a healthy, thriving environment can go hand in hand.”
In addition to campaigning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the RSPB is committed to reducing its own carbon footprint by generating its energy needs from renewable sources wherever possible.
Paul concluded: “Throughout this process, we will continue to keep local residents involved and we actively encourage people to come and talk to us if they have any questions about the project.”
Ecotricity and the RSPB will host local public exhibition sessions in the coming weeks in order to update people about the project.
Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “This is a significant project for Ecotricity and the RSPB and we are very happy to have reached the stage where, after completing extensive assessments, we are ready to submit a full application.
“The proposed windmill at The Lodge would help to substantially reduce the RSPB’s carbon emissions as well as their energy costs, while remaining a good neighbour to wildlife, local residents and visitors to the area.