The RSPB Scotland has welcomed the decision by Dumfries and Galloway Council to refuse permission for a meteorological mast at the site of a proposed wind farm near Sanquhar.
The charity says the mast would have posed a risk to birds through collision with its tower and guy wires, and that it would also have been an early step towards permitting the construction of Spango wind farm, a proposal for 14 turbines of 132m on a site that is internationally important for threatened wildlife, and designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under Scots and European law.
The RSPB says that, if built, it would threaten bird species such as hen harriers, golden plovers and curlews, as well as other wildlife.
RSPB Scotland’s Chris Rollie said: “Well-sited wind farms play an important role in the future of Scotland’s energy production, allowing us to help tackle climate change, a major long-term threat to wildlife across the globe.
“The vast majority of wind farms pose no serious threat to wildlife, and the RSPB will only object when we believe the potential for harm is unacceptable. In this case, the threat to hen harriers, already under pressure from issues such as habitat loss and illegal persecution, is a particular concern.
“This proposal is within the Muirkirk and North Lowther Uplands SPA, and its importance for birds such as hen harriers can’t be overstated. SPAs are among our most highly protected sites in Scotland, and form part of a network of internationally important areas that give nature a home.
“We applaud Dumfries and Galloway Council’s recent decision on the meteorological mast, and urge them to take the same sensible stance on the remaining proposals for Spango.”