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Primary school forced to turn off wind turbine after bird deaths

Critics have disputed my previous analysis about the rate of bird deaths due to wind turbines. However, we have a story now from Britain about what is a small to moderately sized turbine killing at a rate of about thirty times greater than the estimates in my post. Since the only special thing about this wind turbine is that it is erected where lots of people see the results, I think it can be safely said that I vastly underestimated the assault upon wildlife by these monstrosities. From

Published: 9:45AM BST 04 Jul 2010

A primary school has been forced to switch off a £20,000 wind turbine because it keeps killing passing seabirds.

The rotary blades on the 30ft (9m) structure have struck at least 14 birds in the past six months.

The turbine, at Southwell Community Primary School, Portland, was installed 18 months ago thanks to a grant from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

It provided six kilowatts of power an hour, but its performance was overshadowed by the number of birds killed - far higher than the one fatality per year predicted by the manufacturer.

Headteacher Stuart McLeod was even forced to come into school early to clear up the bodies before his young pupils spotted them.

School governers consulted seagull eyesight experts and investigated bringing in bird-scaring plastic owls to solve the problem, but to no avail.

Mr McLeod said they had tried everything to stop the carnage but had no choice but to shut the turbine down.

He said: "We've got the ideal location for wind power but unfortunately seagulls kept flying into it.

"We were told by the manufacturer to expect maybe one fatality a year but it killed 14 in six months so we took advice and made the decision to turn it off.

"If it had happened at night time you could understand that the birds couldn't see the blades, which rotate at 135mph but it was happening at all different times of the day."

Mr McLeod said he worried about the impact on the birds and his pupils, who got upset when deaths happened during playtimes and lunchtimes.

He said: "The school governors investigated putting scaffolding up but that would impact on its performance, we thought about painting the blades a dazzle yellow but the manufacturer said that couldn't be done.

"We've even gone as far as Stansted Airport to investigate bird-scaring plastic owls and we spoke to herring gull eyesight experts at the Natural History Museum.

"We've tried so hard to be eco-friendly but now we can't turn it on."

I can't resist saying this to Mr McLeod: the best first step to "trying so hard" is to get some facts. Demonstrating to one's own satisfaction that "carbon footprints" and global warming due to CO2 are baloney is quite easy. Showing that wind turbines just don't have the payoff to make them viable and genuinely eco-friendly is also quite easy. On the other hand, buying into nonsense because one is too lazy to exercise one's mind is easy, but foolish.

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