New guidelines to reduce Scottish wind industry’s ecological footprint

Overview looking up to other WF at south of site

Geoscience consultant, East Point Geo, has released a new discussion paper to summarise the onshore wind industry’s current approach to minimising the ecological and environmental impacts of wind turbines on Scottish priority peatland habitats. 

The paper outlines current best practice guidelines for environmental and ecological impact assessment and raises questions where there appear to be ambiguities and inconsistencies in the way stakeholders and regulators engage with applicants during the EIA process. The intention is for the paper to stimulate discussion and support industry and stakeholders/regulators in finding common ground in addressing the climate emergency through responsible development in Scotland.

Geoscience experts East Point Geo, part of AqualisBraemar LOC, co-authored the white paper to support the development of Scottish onshore wind whilst also safeguarding the country’s carbon-rich soils, deep peat and priority peatland habitats.

“The publication is an important step in identifying how the renewables industry currently assesses the impact of onshore wind infrastructure on blanket bogs. It advises the industry on how to meet its compliance requirements regarding construction in these environments, which make up 23% of Scotland’s land surface,” says Dr Andy Mills, director of terrain at East Point Geo.

Peatland habitats are recognised as globally important providers of ecosystem services, due to their high volume of soil organic carbon stores. They contributeto the provision of food and fibre, water supply, climate regulation, biodiversity, recreation and cultural heritage.

“Onshore wind delivers 70% of Scotland’s energy mix, so it plays a really important role in Scotland’s ability to achieve its green energy goals. This paper is key to supporting the continuing growth of the country’s most cost-effective and accessible green energy source, whilst supporting developers in mitigating impacts on peatland habitats, thereby complying with Scottish Government regulation,” adds Dr Andy Mills.

The white paper is co-authored with Marcus Trinick QC and Dr Kate Massey of Alba Ecology Ltd, with the foreword provided by Jeremy Sainsbury OBE, political director of Natural Power. 

East Point Geo is a UK-based, independent geoscience consultancy providing support for major offshore and onshore engineering projects. It specialises in renewables developments, providing services that centre on the understanding of ground conditions for foundation engineering. East Point Geo is part of Oslo-listed AqualisBraemar LOC ASA.

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