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21 April 2012, 06:00
The RSPB has announced plans for a 100-metre high wind turbine at its UK headquarters to help reduce the wildlife charity's carbon footprint.
The RSPB is teaming up with green energy company Ecotricity to submit a planning application for a ``meteorological mast'' by its offices in the Lodge nature reserve near Sandy, Bedfordshire, to determine the site's suitability for a wind turbine.
If the site is suitable, the RSPB hopes to install the wind turbine in autumn 2013, to generate the equivalent of two-thirds of the charity's electricity needs across the UK.
The RSPB has raised concerns over a number of wind farm projects, most recently over controversial plans for a project in the Shetland Islands which the charity fears could damage peat habitat and breeding grounds for rare birds.
But the organisation said that while it had commented on more than 1,500 wind farm bids, it had only raised objections in around 6% of cases, where it felt there was likely to be a significant impact on wildlife.
The RSPB said it believed renewable energy was essential for fighting climate change, which it said posed the biggest single threat to wildlife and birds, and that it could be developed in harmony with nature.
Martin Harper, RSPB conservation director, said: ``We are keen to promote the use of wind energy where it does not result in unacceptable impacts to wildlife and we are confident that this is a suitable location to do so.
``All of us have a part to play in helping to meet the UK Government's target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and this turbine will be one more step along the way.''
He added: ``We hope that by siting a wind turbine at our UK headquarters, we will demonstrate to others that with a thorough environmental assessment and the right planning and design, renewable energy and a healthy, thriving environment can go hand in hand.''
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said the company conducted detailed studies for its wind projects on up to 27 different areas of potential impacts including health and safety, cultural heritage and wildlife.