Voluntary clean up

Twelve Spanish wind power organisations agreed last month to initial a pact that aims to reduce the ecological influence of wind farms at sites all over the country. Brokered by Spain's environmentally active trade unions and the ecological group, AEDENAT, the pact essentially commits the signatories to making wind farms as ecologically sound as possible.

The "clean" dozen are committed to implementing environmental impact reports at all wind farms with a capacity of 2 MW or over and are urged to religiously follow local, regional and European legislation when setting up projects in environmentally sensitive areas.

More immediately, the agreement requires signatories to repair damage done to the environment by installations already set up, including the burial of surface power lines, removal of troublesome turbines and the restoration of flora damaged during the construction of the wind farms.

The 12, who represent by far the majority of wind power developers and turbine manufacturers in Spain, were named as Ecotècnia, Made, Gamesa Eolica, Desarrollos Eolicos, EHN, Iberdrola, Ceasa, Acsa, Desarrollos Eolicos de Canarias, ADES, J Bornay and Molinos del Ebro.

Experts welcomed the move since the Spanish wind power industry has still to prove its commitment to the environment following a bad start in Tarifa several years ago where a series of raptor deaths brought fears that the wind farms there were destroying the way of life for thousands of migrating birds.