‘Wind turbines are causing bats’ lungs to explode’

George Herraghty of Lhanbryde, near Elgin, has concerns about the effects wind turbines are having on wildlife in Scotland.
George Herraghty of Lhanbryde, near Elgin, has concerns about the effects wind turbines are having on wildlife in Scotland.

Environmental campaigners fear windfarms are causing the lungs of millions of bats to explode every year.

They are now urging the Scottish Government to do more to investigating the effect caused by the turbines – known as barotrauma.

Blades spinning at up to 200mph cause a change in air pressure, which can damage the lungs of bats flying close to them.

Lhanbryde resident George Herraghty has launched a lobbying campaign calling for action to be taken to safeguard the protected mammals and questions have also been lodged at the Scottish Parliament by a north MSP.

Retired art lecturer Mr Harraghty said: “The carnage being caused is absolutely devastating all over the place.

“Every turbine kills more than 300 bats and birds in Spain and Germany – I expect it to be similar in Scotland but the figures aren’t public.

“People are very quick to make the assumption that turbines are green energy, but they don’t know the carnage it is causing in nature.

“It’s appalling and I’m at a loss to know why anyone would still support it.”

The bodies of bats and birds have been found seemingly uninjured near the foot of turbines, leading to concerns they were not killed by flying into the spinning blades.

It is believed the mammals, which feed on insects, are lured towards them by the heat generated by the rotating turbines.

Mr Herraghty, who is a member of the John Muir Trust environmental charity and Moray Mountaineering Club, is a long-term opponent of windfarms and says they have already “industrialised” too much of Scotland’s natural beauty.

Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart has now lodged questions at Holyrood to ask what is being done to reduce the number of bat deaths.

He said: “There are bats with no broken bones or other evidence of blunt trauma that have pulmonary and middle ear haemorrhages, which implies that they had suffered barotrauma.

“Bats use echolocation to navigate, so if boom boxes were affixed to windfarms this may well repel the bats from coming too close.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We support the development of renewable energy in Scotland but will always act to ensure this is done with as little impact on the surrounding environment as possible.”

Scottish Renewables has previously stated environmental impacts studies are done to ensure the impact on wildlife is reduced.

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