Scotland: more manipulations
Whether it’s in America, Australia, or Europe, the media and the public are not being told the truth about actual mortality at wind farms. From employees who make carcasses disappear, to bird societies caught in conflicts of interest, to government agencies obeying their political masters, most stakeholders contribute to the cover up. But whereas in some countries like Spain, Germany or the US, some information has leaked out and the public knows there is a problem with birds, bats and wind farms, in others like Denmark, France or the UK, most people believe the fiction that their wind turbines have been “correctly sited” away from the flight paths of protected species.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln “you can’t fool all the people all of the time”. In the case of Scotland, the truth was due to come out in 2013, with the once-every-ten-year golden eagle census. The earlier census had revealed in 2003 that the iconic birds’ breeding population was stable but “in demographic difficulty” – meaning that there was a paucity of young eagles for replacing the adults when these would die. Ten years later, with the added effects of wind turbines making their habitat deadly, a significant drop was expected in their population.
But no census was conducted in 2013. Bizarrely, it was decided that, from now on, these counts would take place only once every 12 years. Serious questions need to be asked about why this relaxation of the monitoring has been ‘accepted.’ The public will be kept in the dark for an additional two years. To avoid publication of a census which would show a sharp drop in the golden eagle population, only attracts deserved accusations of ‘cover up’.
This manipulation is one of many, where wind farms are concerned. Back in 2009, in an open letter addressed to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), Professor David Bellamy and I had criticized their handling of the Edinbane project, on the Isle of Skye. We wrote: “The developer’s first eagle mortality prediction was too high for comfort, so you invited him to do more studies and to review his copy, especially the mortality prediction. You too did some work, and modified a key parameter for the mortality calculations: from 95%, the “avoidance factor” was increased to 98%, which has the effect of reducing mortality predictions exponentially. You also indicated that the predicted mortality should be no bigger than a certain number: this was tantamount to showing the fox how to get into the hen house”. (1)
There are more examples of dishonourable conduct on the part of stakeholders in the Scottish wind farm saga. They show that, in Scotland, wind farms have not been “carefully sited” with regards to eagles and other important birdlife. All the opposite, in fact: the authorities have bent over backwards to let the promoters have it their way (2). And while eagles were disappearing in Scotland in circumstances pointing to a probable link to wind turbines, the public was not informed of these facts, except those who read this article:
“Covering up the death of eagles at Scottish windfarms
A REALITY CHECK PROVES THE SCOTTISH EAGLES DO NOT AVOID WINDFARMS AS CLAIMED
“An inconvenient truth gleaned from various sources shows that wind farms have already, directly or indirectly, killed eagles, caused them to “disappear”, or reduced their breeding success in Scotland. It is the best kept secret in this curious land where some eagle deaths make the headlines, while others are either denied or swept under the carpet – depending on who did the killing.
“This paper brings proof that covering up the dark side of wind farms is rampant in Scotland, as indeed it is everywhere: from politicians to NGO´s, and from bird societies to those sadly ill-informed sections of the media, the wind power scam is well protected. Misrepresentation of facts is routinely fed to a public unsure and nervous about future events. Such a well recognised ‘state of fear’ blinds the normally perceptive who would otherwise be less easily fooled.” (3)
The article, written in 2008, proceeds to give documented evidence of the wind farms’ lethal effects on Scottish eagles. (3)
Over the years we have witnessed some SNH officials, in many areas, making it easy for developers to obtain planning approval for their projects, even in the most sensitive habitats where many eagles could be struck by the proposed wind turbines (2). Understandably, it has now become important to kick into the long grass a census which could show a sharp drop in the golden eagle population.
The truth about the real effects of wind farms on Scotland’s golden eagles was given a chance to become public knowledge in 2013, with the 10-year-scheduled survey. But this truth was forced back into the obscure corners of the blogosphere. The vast majority of Scottish voters will only find out in 2015, if ever, what has been the cost to Scotland of windfarm disinformation, if only in terms of eagles’ lives.
Chairman, World Council for Nature
President, Save the Eagles International
tel. +34 693 643 736
(1) – Open letter to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), from Professor David Bellamy and Mark Duchamp, 29 June 2009.
Details of the Edinbane scandal: http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=4242
(2) – Allowing wind farms in eagle territories.
- Methods used in Scotland to mock the law:
- Inverliever, Eishken, Edinbane: http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=2250
Inverliever flight path maps:
Golden Eagle – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6sY1dWgOsjZTTNselQwYUVObVU/edit?usp=sharing
Osprey – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6sY1dWgOsjZcHRhM2hXYVVNMnc/edit?usp=sharing
Hen Harrier – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6sY1dWgOsjZa3VHTGRING1oT3c/edit?usp=sharing
Red-throated diver – https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6sY1dWgOsjZME5fTmJ0YmNyalU/edit?usp=sharing
(3) – Covering up the death of eagles at Scottish windfarms.