Viking has plans to help Shetland’s dwindling whimbrel population Concerns have been raised by SNH and RSPB about the impact of the wind farm on breeding birds in the site area. These include red-throated diver, whimbrel and merlin. Extensive studies of bird populations and flight paths have been carried out by Viking to ensure construction and operation will have minimal effects on these birds. And the Habitat Management Plan should restore, enhance and protect blanket bog, benefiting birds and other species.
To take one example, turbines and other infrastructure will be kept away from important red-throated diver breeding lochs and turbines have been located to avoid regularly used diver flight corridors.
Viking aims to improve the habitat for red-throated divers Shetland is home to the largest whimbrel population in the UK, a population which is in decline locally but is measured in hundreds of thousands in Northern Europe. The Scottish Government has recognised that the HMP will bring one third of the UK whimbrel population under active management.
Among the features of the HMP are predator control – predation is responsible for many of the estimated 72-108 whimbrel deaths per year in Shetland – and habitat restoration, protection and management. Ministers have stated they believe these conservation measures will more than compensate for the 3.7 whimbrel deaths that SNH has estimated will occur annually due to the wind farm.