UK solar farms to become more wildlife friendly

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The project by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and clean tech company Anesco announced earlier this week aims to create new habitats for struggling species, such as tree sparrows, turtle doves, lapwing and skylarks.

RSPB experts explain that wild flower meadow areas and seed-rich planting in the unused margins of the farms and where tracks go between the panels will help boost insects such as bees and butterflies and provide food and nesting areas for birds.

RSPB experts will visit a number of Anesco’s existing solar farm sites to advise on ways they can be improved to the benefit of priority species. These recommendations will then be used to shape Anesco’s biodiversity management plans for all new solar farm sites, the company says.

Renewable energy technologies like PV and wind power plants are known for their much lower impact on the environment. And yet even the “clean” projects have to be installed and managed in ways that reduce their environmental impacts, the US non-profit group Defenders of Wildlife warns.

For example, one of the more well-known issues with wind energy development projects is the risk of birds and bats flying into turbine blades. And installation of a single major solar facility in a desert area can require thousands of acres of biologically fragile land, which supports a wide range of sensitive and imperiled species – to be cleared and leveled.