RSPB Scotland Launches Date with Nature at Europe’s Largest Windfarm

11/05/2012

RSPB Scotland has teamed up with ScottishPower Renewables to add a unique dimension to the visitor experience at Whitelee Windfarm, just outside Glasgow.

The RSPB ‘Date with Nature’ project will show visitors how the windfarm has been developed to operate in harmony with the wildlife on Eaglesham Moor. As part of an extensive habitat management programme, a section of the site specifically has no turbines and is instead managed to benefit wildlife and birds, like curlew and snipe.

RSPB Scotland staff and volunteers will be on hand in the Whitelee Visitor Centre to offer information on renewable energy – particularly how the RSPB works with developers and decision makers to try and ensure windfarms and other developments do not have a detrimental effect on wildlife. They will also be able to provide tips and advice on wildlife watching in the area and will be running events and activities for all the family until the autumn.

While some windfarms can have an impact upon birds and other wildlife, with careful planning and design this can be avoided. Well-sited windfarms, such as that at Whitelee, play an increasingly crucial role in greening the way we produce our electricity - something which is urgently required if Scotland is to do its bit to tackle climate change, a major long term threat to wildlife in Scotland and across the world.

Caroline King, the new RSPB Scotland Information Officer at Whitelee, said: “This is a great place to be working, and I’m really looking forward to running this project over the summer.

“I think some people might be surprised to see the RSPB at a windfarm, but increasing the proportion of our energy which comes from renewable sources, including from appropriately located windfarms, is vital if we are to protect birds and other wildlife from the worst potential threats of climate change. Occasionally we have no option but to object to poorly sited windfarms which would have unacceptable impacts on wildlife and habitats.

But when they are well located and designed, like at Whitelee, significant harm to birds or other wildlife can be avoided. Energy generated from windfarms, in the right places, makes an important part of Scotland’s contribution to the global fight against climate change. That’s just one of the topics that I’ll be talking to visitors about – as well as showing them the incredible wildlife that thrives here on Eaglesham Moor.”

Whitelee is Europe’s largest windfarm, and with its cafe, exhibition room and learning hub, as well as over 90km of trails, the site is a fantastic day out for all the family.

Simon Christian, UK Managing Director from ScottishPower Renewables said: “We work very closely with RSPB throughout the development of all our windfarms and we are delighted that Whitelee has been chosen to take part in such a worthwhile initiative.

“Windfarms and wildlife can co-exist and with careful planning, they can play a key role in increasing sustainable renewable electricity and in the growth and protection of many species.”

The project will run from May to September. For more information, and to find out about events, contact Caroline on 07831 377 507.

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