Wind turbines may be killing bats by ‘exploding’ their lungs

September 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

“But the danger to them is really barotrauma, were they are literally popped
from the inside.

“It is reported a lot that birds of prey are dying because of wind turbines,
but lots of bats are too.”

She said a dead bat was found under a turbine close to where she lives and
had no obvious sign of external trauma, adding: “There are many risks to
bats in Scotland, such as cats and other animals attacking them, as well as
the weather. But when you add the wind turbines it could be the final nail
in the coffin.”

In the United States, several studies have suggested bats suffer from
barotrauma – a condition that can affect divers – when they get too close to
the turbine blades.

Melissa Behr, a vet at the University of Wisconsin, said she had dealt with
a number of bats that had no physical signs of trauma, but had suffered
damage to the ears and lungs.

She added: “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.

“In one case 46% per cent of the bats that were seen had no physical sign of
trauma, but 100% had pulmonary haemorrhage. The conclusion is that a large
percentage must have died of barotrauma.”

Christine Metcalfe, an anti-wind farm campaigner who recently won an appeal
at the UN, arguing that the UK Government had failed to fully inform the
public about the negative effects of turbines, said: “People don’t realise
that the turbine tips move up to speeds of 200 miles an hour. This obviously
will have a massive effect on wildlife such as birds and bats.”

Scotland has nine species of bat, the most common of which is the
pipistrelle, which is just 2in long.

The wind farm industry is currently involved with the Department for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on a project to determine the impact of
turbines on bats, with the research due to be published next year.

Jenny Hogan, director of policy for Scottish Renewables, said: “Whenever a
developer applies to build a wind farm, a thorough environmental impact
assessment is carried out to ensure that any effect on wildlife, including
bats, is reduced to an absolute minimum and is acceptable.”

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