An Open Letter to RSPB members

(and to National Trust members, come to that)

Wind farms kill millions of birds

Wind farms kill millions of birds

Britain’s birds are under threat from every side: habitat loss, urban sprawl, agricultural policies, domestic cats, and so on.  So I commend you, as an RSPB member, for your commitment to conserving and supporting bird populations.  Your concern does you credit.  And equally, I commend members of the National Trust for their efforts to preserve our heritage and our wonderful country houses.

I’m sure you’ll be aware of the threat posed to birds by wind turbines, as I am.  But recently, reading Matt Ridley’s wonderful essay on shale gas, I was shocked to read about the scale of the damage that turbines do to birds.  Of course it’s difficult to get accurate figures, but an academic from Oxford, Clive Hambler, has done a study showing that in Spain alone, millions of birds and bats are killed every year by turbines.  Not dozens, or hundreds, or thousands.  Millions.

The industry accepts that turbines kill birds, but argues that more are killed by road traffic than by wind farms.  This may be true, but wind turbines preferentially kill rare birds, raptors and migrating birds.  Only a couple of months ago a rare white-throated needle-tail was killed by a turbine in the Hebrides, in full view dozens of twitchers who had hurried to the islands on hearing of the sighting.

Given the scale of the threat to birds, you’d think that the RSPB would be campaigning tooth-and-nail against wind energy.  But not a bit of it.

They make some mealy-mouthed caveats about siting turbines sensitively, but they’re absolutely clear that in principle they’re in favour.  They put the increasingly disputed and highly speculative threat of climate change, some time in the future, ahead of the lives of literally millions of birds today.  This despite the fact that there has been no significant warming for best part of two decades, that predictions of an “ice-free Artic” are confounded by the facts, and that leading politicians like Tony Abbott in Australia and Günther Oettinger in Brussels are back-pedalling frantically from “the fight against climate change”.  And despite the fact that through the course of evolution, birds have survived perfectly well in temperatures higher than today’s.

The RSPB is even applying to put a turbine on its head office premises in Bedfordshire. Pure gesture politics — it’ll do nothing for the environment.  And for the birds, it’s the wrong gesture.

The National Trust, on the other hand, has a much better record.  It repeats all the Warmist clichés about controlling emissions, but is generally against wind turbines, concerned for their visual impact in sensitive and historic landscapes (I’m much more concerned about their economic impact on industrial competitiveness and fuel poverty).  And I’m impressed by headlines like “National Trust declares war on 25 wind farms”, and “National Trust comes out against the menace of wind farms”. 

So what to do?  If you share my concerns, please join your local anti-wind-farm group (or send them a cheque).  Please write to your MP telling her what you think.  And above all, please write to the RSPB, and tell them that unless they change their policy on wind energy, you’ll cancel your subscription.  (You could send the money instead to your local anti-wind-farm-group).  And thank you.

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8 Responses to An Open Letter to RSPB members

  1. Adrian Hey says:

    Here’s a video here of a bird (looks like a cape vulture to me) being beaten up by a wind turbine.

    Poor bird! You can see it’s not dead even after hitting the ground but probably soon will be with a broken wing or whatever.

    Have you done anything to make sure that RSPB members actually get to read your open letter, or is this blog the only place it appears?

  2. cornwallwindwatch says:

    Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch and commented:
    Thanks, we have lots of articles on this hypocrisy

  3. 1957chev says:

    If anyone is truly interested in knowing a true number, for bird and bat kills, it can be done. All it would take is volunteers who live near wind turbines, to have 24 hr. surveillance cameras set up to monitor the blade path of the turbines, with a zoom lens, and infra-red, for dark. Community fundraisers could cover the expenditures. The wind industry lies about all of the testing and monitoring they pay to have done. We can only expose them, by taking on the responsibility to double-check everything they do, by ourselves.

  4. 1957chev says:

    Reblogged this on Mothers Against Wind Turbines and commented:
    We need to push accountability for the wind industry. All of their lies can be easily exposed, with a little double checking!

  5. Patryk says:

    Roger – I see your lot are now against the privatisation of the Royal Mail. Are you Labour in disguise? 😉

    • Ray Spalding says:

      And Royal Mail are being replaced by wind turbines? The communications workers union shout about being against privatisation BUT do not talk to UKIP about it! Retired member CWU

  6. Kevin Algar says:

    Reblogged this on A Riverside View and commented:
    The RSPB has been taken over by a bunch of watermelons.

  7. Graham Brown says:

    Roger, I fully support your comments regarding the rather strange policy of the RSPB.

    However, a cautionary word regarding the National Trust, in whom I wish I had your faith regarding its policy on wind turbines. I wrote to the NT in the Spring to complain about the blatant NIMBYism in their policy on wind power. It supports them… but away from NT properties due, among other things, to their visual impact. In other words, the people in beautiful towns and villages can have them on their doorstep in order to save the planet but not in its back yard, thank you. In the NT’s reply to me, dated April 15, they say:
    “We believe that there can be a place for wind in a mix of renewable technologies which are needed to meet the country’s needs for low carbon energy and increased energy security.”

    If the NT articles you cite convey a different message, perhaps there is an element, not only of NIMBYism, but of doublespeak from the its recently appointed Chief Executive, Dame Helen Ghosh.

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