I was commissioned to study the ecological issues around installing a 50m high wind turbine on a farm in West Wales. From an initial visit and desk study I was able to identify the need for further information on bats and birds as well as the potential to enhance the farm for wildlife by planting hedges, which would be considered a benefit by the planning authority.
The bat and bird survey work was subcontracted to specialists and took nearly a year to gather enough information. Bird surveys were done monthly from January to June to take account of differences in bird activity across the seasons. Each of these consisted of recording birds along a transect and assessing activity in relation to the surrounding habitat.
Three bat survey visits were carried out in October, May and August to take account of seasonal variations. Each survey consisted of recording bats along a transect using hand held detectors and continuing for roughly two hours.
From the results I was able to determine that the proposed turbine could avoid harm bats or birds by careful location away from field edges and by a combination of habitat improvements elsewhere on the farm and grazing or cutting in the turbine field to encourage wildlife to avoid the area.