Could sun be setting on turbine bid?

Bird flight at Loch of Strathbeg
Bird flight at Loch of Strathbeg

CONTROVERSIAL plans to erect a wind turbine at the Loch of Strathbeg Nature Reserve at Lonmay have been targeted by the Ministry of Defence.

RSPB Scotland wants to install a 62ft mast at the popular nature reserve, a haven to almost 300 different species of birds.

The reserve is also home to one of the largest population’s of pink-footed geese, which arrive at the coastal site each year and are a spectacle for the many keen birdwatchers who visit.

The charity hopes that the turbine will help generate renewable energy, reducing the nature reserve’s carbon footprint.

But the plans have met with oppostiion from the MOD which belives it could pose a risk to security if given the go-ahead.

A spokesperson for the MOD said that the turbine would cause “unacceptable interference” with the AD radar at Buchan, with the radar’s detection for low-flying aircraft being reduced.

More than 20 letters have been received by Aberdeenshire Council in opposition to the RSPB’s plans, with many stating that the turbines would also prove hazardous to the birds themselves.

One resident wrote: “I would describe this mast as a bacon slicer because that’s the effect it is going to have on low-flying birds.”

While an ornithology report submitted by the applicants states that a small number of pink-footed geese and whooper swans would be at risk of collison, it says that the turbine was unlikely to have a “significant impact” on the qualifying species of Loch of Strathbeg SPA (special protection area).

A spokesman for the RSPB added: “The primary objective of the reserve remains nature conservation and the turbine will be managed in a manner that ensures unacceptable risks to birds and bats are minimised.