Future of Wildlife Is Blowing in the Wind; the Role of Wind Farms in Helping Control Climate Change Is a Hotly-Debated Subject. Here Peter Jones, Environmental Policy Officer, RSPB Cymru, Looks at the Impact of Global Warming on Wildlife and the Issue of Wind Farms in Our Countryside

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Byline: Peter Jones

WIND farms in Wales have given rise to much public debate, not least in the letter columns of this newspaper. It is no part of the RSPB Cymru's role to comment on the visual impact and possible implications for tourism of wind-farm developments, but we do have a view on behalf of the birds of Wales and beyond.

Put simply, we need renewable energy, including wind farms, because human-induced climate change from fossil-fuel burning threatens the natural habitats of birds, together with their breeding, feeding and migration.

It is imperative for birds, and the habitats upon which they depend, that emissions of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, from energy generation and from other sources - industry, households, air and road transport - are curbed as quickly as possible and on a sustainable basis.

Climate change is with us now. Average annual temperatures are rising. We shall have wetter winters and drier summers, with an overall increase in rainfall. Sea levels will rise and there will be an increased frequency of storms. These changes will happen much more quickly than would occur from purely natural processes.

The impact on birds will be significant, not least because of consequent changes to farming practices, leading to significant food and habitat loss for some species. The ability of many species to adapt and survive is questionable.

Wind turbines, mainly onshore at present, provide emission-free and environmentally-safe energy generation. …