HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc73-4W
Mr. Peter Duncan

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the number of wind turbines which will be required to meet Government targets on renewable energy in the United Kingdom. [155481]

Mr. Timms

To meet the Government's target of 10 per cent. of electricity generated from renewable sources by 2010 we expect that approximately 3,500 to 5,000 wind turbines will be required. This includes both onshore and offshore turbines, and assumes that around 7 per cent. to 8 per cent. of electricity is generated from wind with the remaining 2 per cent. to 3 per cent. from other renewable sources.

Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment has been made of the potential hazard posed by wind turbines to migrating bats. [155023]

Mr. Timms

Studies1 of the impact of wind farms on wildlife suggest that there is a small risk of bat strikes from the operation of wind turbines but that this occurs on a very irregular basis due to the good echolocation systems that bats use to navigate.

In addition, under the normal planning regime and for consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 regime or the Transport and Works Act 1992 wind farm developers are required to consider all environmental aspects of wind energy projects and produce an Environmental Impact Assessment. These assessments are available to the public.

The great majority of British bat species do not undertake large scale migrations and so would not be expected to interact with offshore wind farms. The exception to this is Nathusius's pipistrelle which is known to undertake long distance migrations in Europe (including sea crossings), but this is an uncommon species in the UK. The potential for bat interactions with wind turbines is recognised and are being considered in the Strategic Environmental Assessments that will precede any future offshore wind farm licensing rounds.

Similarly, bats are listed as a consideration in guidance "Background document on problems and benefits associated with the development of offshore wind farms" issued by the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR document EIHA 03/4/6-E(L)) and thus potential effects on bats would be expected to be assessed in project specific Environmental Impact Assessments for offshore wind farms. 1Crockford, N, February 1992. A review of the Possible Impacts of Wind Farms on Birds and Other Wildlife (Joint National Conservation Committee report no. 27); JNCC, Peterborough 1National Wind Co-ordinating Committee, December 1999. Studying wind energy/bird interactions: A Guidance document: NWCC, Washington DC (USA)

Llew Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research has been undertaken by(a) her Department, (b) the Energy Technology Support Unit on behalf of her Department and (c) consultants for her Department on (i) shadow flicker and (ii) noise from wind farms. [155024]

Mr. Timms

Research on wind turbine noise has been carried out under the Department's New and Renewable Energy Programme. Copies of the reports1 from those studies are available on the DTI website at www.dti.gov.uk/publications. No research has been carried out into shadow flicker from wind turbines under the DTI's New and Renewable Energy Programme. However, others have conducted research in this area and references2 to those studies are provided as follows.

1"The Assessment & Rating of Noise from Wind Farms" ETSUR-97

"Noise Emission from Wind Turbines" ETSU W/13/00503/REP

"Low Frequency Noise and Vibrations Measurement at a Modern Wind Farm" ETSU W/13/00392/REP

"Assessment of the Effects of Noise and Vibration from Offshore Windfarms on Marine Wildlife" ETSU W/13/00566/REP

"Aerodynamic Noise Reduction for Variable Speed Turbines" ETSU W/45/00504/REP

"Machine Tests for Audible Noise Emission on an Atlantic Corporation 15/50kw Wind Turbine Installed on the Carmichael Estate" ETSU W/24/00472/REP3

2 Clarke, A. D. (1991), A Case of Shadow Flicker/Flashing: Assessment and Solution. Open University, Milton Keynes

Clarke, A. D. October (1995). Assessment of Proposed Wind Energy Project at Meenacahan, Donegal, Ireland, for Shadow Flicker. Report for B9 Energy Services Ltd.