The RSPB believes that wind energy is an essential tool in the fight against climat

The RSPB is unveiling plans to reduce its carbon footprint by building a wind turbine at its headquarters in Sandy, Bedfordshire. The society believes that renewable energy is an essential tool in the fight against climate change, which poses the single biggest threat to the long term survival of birds and all wildlife. In addition to campaigning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the RSPB is committed to reducing its own carbon footprint by generating its energy needs from renewable sources wherever possible. The proposal will be a significant step for the wildlife charity, which is joining forces with green energy company, Ecotricity.

The RSPB and Ecotricity will shortly be submitting a planning application for a meteorological mast to be erected close to the charity’s head offices at The Lodge NR, near Sandy in Bedfordshire. If the site is found suitable, the proposed wind turbine will be erected at the earliest in autumn 2013, and will measure 100 m at its highest point. It will generate around two thirds of the RSPB’s electricity needs across all of its UK operations.

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director said: “We are keen to promote the use of wind energy where it does not result in unacceptable impacts on wildlife, and we are confident that this is a suitable location. All of us have a part to play in helping to meet the government’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, and this turbine will be one more step along the way.

“We need a revolution in the way we generate and use energy, but we want that revolution to take place in harmony with the natural environment. We know that with the right design and location wind turbines have little or no impact on wildlife. The RSPB has commented on over 1,500 wind farm applications. In around six per cent of cases where we feel there is likely to be a significant impact on wildlife, we have lodged an objection. In many of these cases the developers have listened and redesigned their plans to make sure they do not threaten wildlife.

“We hope that by siting a wind turbine at our headquarters, we will demonstrate to others that with a thorough environmental assessment and the right planning and design, renewable energy and a healthy, thriving environment can go hand in hand.”

Dale Vince, Founder of Ecotricity, said: “Ecotricity’s mission is to change where Britain’s energy comes from because this is our biggest single source of the carbon emissions that cause climate change. It’s essential that wind energy projects provide their environmental benefits with the minimum environmental impact. To ensure this, we conduct detailed studies on up to 27 different areas of potential impact such as health and safety, cultural heritage and wildlife. Our aim is to ensure that any wind power project we build will be a good neighbour to people and wildlife, for the entire lifetime of its operation.

“So far our studies show The Lodge site is suitable for a wind turbine and would make a significant contribution in reducing the RSPB’s carbon emissions and energy costs. Ecotricity is a British company which started 16 years ago as the world’s first green energy company, and we don’t pay dividends to shareholders, instead we use our profits to build new sources of green energy.”