I’m receiving a lot of letters regarding the shooting of songbirds in Malta for sport. While I’m not opposed in principle to the shooting of birds for sport or for the pot, the annual carnage in Malta seems disproportionate and a possible threat to the species involved. I have accordingly raised the matter several times with the Commission, without any satisfactory answer. This is a good illustration of the ineffectiveness of European Institutions in delivering solutions to problems that concern citizens.
I may say, however, that I consider the proliferation of wind turbines to be an even greater threat to birds and bats. I was struck by to an article which appeared recently in The Spectator, by an academic researcher, arguing that the average turbine kills between 110 and 330 birds a year, and between 200 and 670 bats. The carnage in Spain alone (where the research was conducted) is estimated at between six million and eighteen million birds and bats a year.
Because of the height of turbines, it is likely that they disproportionately affect rare birds, migratory birds and raptors — those we can least afford to lose.
In this context I am very concerned about the policies of the RSPB. Of course they stress the importance of environmental assessments when siting turbines, but they are clearly in favour of wind power, and indeed have reportedly applied to erect their own wind turbines. They also oppose shale gas (which could reduce the demand for turbines). Yet while wind farms are killing literally millions of birds, I am not aware of any bird that has died because of shale gas. This suggests a strange sense of priorities at our largest bird charity.
The RSPB is also making hundreds of thousands of pounds a year from deals with power companies promoting “green energy” and wind turbines.
I respect the concern of constituents regarding the shooting of songbirds in Malta, and I shall continue to raise the issue whenever it is appropriate to do so. But we should also to bear in mind the arguably greater threat to birds from wind power and “green” energy.
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