DC Casebook: Energy Development - Wildlife impact limits turbine operation

An appeal against a condition limiting the hours of operation of a wind turbine at a Buckinghamshire school to the hours of daylight has been rejected because of potential harm to night-foraging bats.

The site was near an arm of the Grand Union Canal. The inspector noted that the canal corridor contained vegetation adjoining the waterway, including trees overhanging the water that could be suitable for bat roosting. He accepted that foraging could occur outside the roosting habitat and acknowledged that research into wind turbines' effect on bat activity was still in progress. But he found that the condition represented a precautionary approach in lieu of hard information about bat activity in the locality and comprised a mitigatory measure supported by PPS3.

The appellants argued that they would not be able to meet their operating costs due to the restrictions imposed by the condition. The inspector considered that however regrettable postponement or abandonment of the project might be, this factor did not outweigh his reservations. He recognised that the turbine was capable of providing significant educational and institutional value to school staff and pupils but reasoned that, financial considerations apart, its operation during daylight hours would still provide substantial benefits.

DCS Number 100-058-223

Inspector Richard Ogier; Written representations.

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