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Netherlands

Netherlands

Bird fears allayed

A recent spate of headlines in the Dutch press announcing that "Wind Turbines Are Not Mincing Machines" indicates that the National Bureau of Wind Energy (LBW) is well on the way to reclaiming the green high ground in Holland's long running and often heated debate about wind turbines and bird mortality rates. The impact of new wind turbines on local bird populations is the reason most frequently raised by opponents to the development of new wind plants in the Netherlands. In the public imagination, such impact is generally perceived as a serious blot on wind power's green credentials. LBW's "Wind Energy and Birds" brochure launched in January was aimed at setting the record straight. Based on studies documenting the interaction of wind turbines and birds in fresh water (the northern Dutch IJsselmeer) and tidal (southern Delta) areas, the brochure's recommendations have been endorsed by the Dutch national society for the protection of birds, Vogelbescherming Nederland. The study, financed by government agency NOVEM, concludes that road traffic remains the number one killer of birds in the Netherlands, claiming some two million lives annually, followed by hunting and high voltage cables at 1.5 million and one million respectively. Should the Netherlands achieve its wind power target of 1000 MW by 2000, this will be at the expense of some 20,000 bird deaths a year.

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