Dunbar Community Wind Turbine Ecological Impact Assessment

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Locogen Ltd Dunbar Community Wind Turbine Ecological Impact Assessment FINAL 6084_R_sb_gc_011012.docx

Name Originated Reviewed Revised John Woods Steven Betts Steven Betts

Position Ecologist Partner Partner

Date 22 March 2012 22 March 2012 1 October 2012

Approved for issue to client Issued to client

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Dunbar Community Wind Turbine

Contents
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  Introduction ................................................................................................................................................. 2  Methodology ............................................................................................................................................... 4  Results ....................................................................................................................................................... 7  Assessment .............................................................................................................................................. 14  Summary .................................................................................................................................................. 21  References ............................................................................................................................................... 22  Appendix 1: Desk study data .................................................................................................................... 23  Appendix 2: Phase 1 Habitat Survey Map ................................................................................................ 25  Appendix 3: Phase 1 Habitat Survey Target Notes ................................................................................... 26 

10  Appendix 4: Site Photographs .................................................................................................................. 27 

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1

Introduction
Site Description

1.1

The proposed wind turbine development is located near the summit of Cocklaw Hill, East Lothian, approximately 1.4km to the north-west of Cocklaw and 8km to the south-east of Dunbar. The study area comprises several improved pastoral fields and two arable fields. A predominantly coniferous plantation is also present approximately 550m to the east of the proposed turbine location. Field boundaries are defined by fences with no hedgerows present. The nearest buildings within the study area are at Cocklaw farm to the south-east. The proposed turbine location is shown on Figure 1.

Figure 1: Map showing the approximate position of the proposed wind turbine (red dot).
This drawing may contain: Ordnance Survey material by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office © Crown Copyright 2011. All rights reserved. Reference number: 100048980. OS Open data © Crown copyright and database right 2011 | Aerial Photography © Bing Maps. Sources: Bing Maps (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation

Proposed Works 1.2 It is proposed to construct a single wind turbine within an area of improved grassland approximately 1.6km north-west of Cocklaw farm. The proposed turbine, which will have a hub height of 32.8m and rotor diameter of 47m, will be located at Easting 371614, Northing 671871. The proposed turbine location is shown on Figure 1. An access track, that links the minor road near Cocklaw (to the south-east) with a pair of communication masts located 1km to the north of the proposed wind turbine location, passes immediately adjacent to the proposed turbine location. It is likely that this access track will be used by construction and operational phase traffic. The project will involve the construction of a concrete turbine foundation, the erection of a wind turbine and the installation of other associated infrastructure, such as electrical cabling to link the turbine to the existing electricity supply network.

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Aims of Study 1.5 The aim of this study was to assess the ecological interest of the area that will be affected by the proposed development. This area was surveyed to identify any ecological constraints that will need to be taken into account during the construction and operation of the wind turbine. In particular, the study has focussed on the need to minimise impacts on protected species, protected habitats and designated sites. Defining the Scope of the Study 1.6 Baker Shepherd Gillespie has considerable experience in carrying out ecological impact assessments for wind farm sites. This experience ranges from single turbine developments up to a 27 turbine scheme in northern Scotland. The scope of the assessment has been defined by drawing upon this experience. The scope of the ecological impact assessment (EcIA) has been defined such that it encompasses the following elements: • • • • A description of the habitats and vegetation, based on a Phase 1 habitat survey, and an assessment of how they will be affected by the proposed development; Consideration of how the development would affect nearby sites with statutory and nonstatutory nature conservation designations, and the species using those sites; An assessment of the presence and distribution of protected species and other species of conservation concern, and how they will be affected; Presentation of mitigation measures designed to minimise the impact of the development on those protected species or habitats present within or adjacent to the site.

1.7

The study area covers all aspects of the proposed development, including the turbine location and the access route, together with a buffer area around the development footprint.

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2

Methodology
Desk Study

2.1

A desk study has been undertaken using data obtained from the Scottish Natural Heritage protected sites database (http://www.snh.org.uk/snhi/) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee’s protected sites database (www.jncc.org.uk) to establish the location and nature of any statutory designated sites of nature conservation interest located within 2km of the centre of the proposed development area. This includes Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs). A 2km search area has been adopted in accordance with guidance published by the Institute of Environmental Assessment (1997). This search area has been adopted as it represents the maximum distance over which impacts (direct or indirect) might be expected to occur. Furthermore it is considered unlikely that most species that may be encountered within the site (based on an assessment of the habitats that are present) will travel more than 2km when commuting or foraging. Consequently it is unlikely that there will be significant interactions with species using sites more than 2km from the proposed development site. The exception to this is birds, which may commute over larger distances. For this reason the search area has been extended to include the nearest SPAs to the wind turbine site. A search has also been made for records of statutorily protected and Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species using the National Biodiversity Network database (www.searchnbn.net). Historical records have been requested from The Wildlife Information Centre (Lothians and the Borders). In addition, reference has been made to the UK and East Lothian Biodiversity Action Plans, which identify a number of species and habitats that are of conservation importance at the national and County levels. The South-East Scotland Bird Atlas (www.the-soc.org.uk/se-atlas) has also been examined to identify records or rare or notable bird species within the study area. An aerial photograph of the site and its surroundings was examined to further assist in understanding the context of the site and to identify and assess possible habitat linkages with other habitats or sites of ecological importance within the local area. Field Survey Phase 1 Survey

2.2

2.3

2.4

2.5

2.6

A Phase 1 Habitat Survey of the study area was undertaken on 6 March 2012 by Steven Betts CEnv MIEEM. The vegetation and land use types present were classified according to the standard JNCC methodology (JNCC, 2003), and a habitat map was produced. The survey was extended to include an assessment of the habitats present to determine their suitability to support protected species. If any signs of protected species were observed these were recorded. Further details of the protected species survey methods adopted are provided below. During the survey there was 1/8 octas cloud cover and it was dry throughout the survey. The survey started at 09:00hrs and finished at 12:00hrs taking three hours to complete. Protected Species Survey Badgers

2.7

2.8

The study area was surveyed for badger Meles meles setts and field signs on 6 March 2012. This entailed searching the whole area for setts, latrines, tracks and other badger signs as described by Creswell et al (1990). The locations of any setts found were recorded on a 1:25,000 scale map of the area. If setts were observed the number of holes at each sett was recorded, and the area checked for signs that the sett was occupied, such as hair, footprints, tracks and latrines. The survey was carried out by an experienced badger surveyor (see Section 2.2.5).

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Bats 2.9 The closest buildings and structures to the proposed turbine location are the aerial masts 170m and 260m to the north-east. Neither of the structures and their associated electrical buildings are considered to have potential to support roosting bats. They are also situation with poor quality habitat for foraging bats. The nearest buildings with any bat roost potential are at Cocklaw farm steading, which is approximately 1.4km to the south-east of the proposed turbine location. The farm steading is separated from the proposed wind turbine location by improved pasture fields, two strips of woodland plantation and an arable field. A building assessment was carried out by an experienced bat surveyor (see Section 2.2.5). All mature trees present within or near the proposed development site were inspected for their potential to support roosting bats. Features suitable for roosting bats include flaking bark, rot holes, cracks and splits in major limbs, and woodpecker holes (BCT, 2007). These features are often associated with semi-mature and mature trees, which are present within parts of the site. Trees that are found to have obvious features with good roosting potential, such as woodpecker holes, have been rated as having ‘high risk’. Trees with features that may have some potential for supporting small numbers of bats, such as flaking or loose bark, have been rated as having ‘moderate potential’ for bats. All other trees are considered to have ‘low risk’. Reptiles 2.13 The study area contains habitats that are considered to be unsuitable for reptiles due to the high level of disturbance that they experience. The study area is dominated by pasture farmland that is subject to regular disturbance as a result of grazing and grassland management. Consequently it is concluded that reptiles are unlikely to be present in the area that will be affected by the development and have not been considered further within this report. Great crested newts 2.14 During the Phase 1 Habitat Survey a man-made pond was identified to the south-east of the proposed wind turbine location, and this was assessed to determine its suitability to support great crested newts. There were no other areas of standing water identified within 500m of the proposed wind turbine. The water feature identified within the site was assessed for its suitability to support great crested newts by using the evaluation criteria derived from a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) (Oldham et al, 2000). The following HIS criteria have been considered for this assessment: • • • • • • • • • Geographic location Pond permanence Water quality Pond shading Number of waterfowl Occurrence of fish Pond density Proportion of newt friendly habitat Macrophyte content

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Breeding Bird Assessment 2.16 Breeding bird surveys are normally undertaken during the period from April to June. As this survey visit was undertaken during March, a full breeding bird survey (which normally comprises a minimum of three visits) has not been carried out. As the site is considered to be relatively poor for breeding birds due to the habitats present, the approach that has been adopted within this report is to assess the site’s potential to support breeding birds based on the types and quality of the habitats present and using information gathered from a walkover survey. All habitats within the study area were assessed to determine their likely potential to support breeding birds. Wintering Bird Assessment 2.17 The application site lies approximately 10km to the south-east of the Firth of Forth SPA, which is designated for its internationally important non-breeding bird assemblage, including wintering pinkfooted geese. For this reason the desk study has been extended to include an evaluation of pinkfooted goose activity in the area around the development site, as pink-footed geese are known to range over large distances when searching for feeding sites. This information has been complemented by an assessment of the development site’s potential to support feeding geese. The site’s suitability for feeding geese was evaluated by considering the habitats and vegetation present, the topography of the land, the levels of disturbance, land management and other relevant factors. During the walkover survey a search was also made for signs of goose presence, such as droppings. Surveyor 2.19 All survey work has been carried out by Steven Betts CEnv MIEEM, who is an experienced ecologist who has worked on a number of renewable energy developments in Scotland and Northern England.

2.18

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3

Results
Desk Study Statutory Designated Sites Lammermuir Deans SSSI

3.1

Lammermuir Deans Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is the only statutory designated wildlife site located within 2km of the proposed development site: the site is located more than 1km to the south-west of the proposed wind turbine location. The SSSI is designated for the habitats contained within several steep valleys, which are the most extensive and least modified cleughs (gorges) incised through calciferous rocks in East Lothian. The description of species and habitats cited for Lammermuir Deans SSSI is provided below. “The cleughs contain deciduous woodland which is uncommon in the context of the surrounding heath and grassland. The woodlands are mixed, with ash Fraxinus excelsior, oak Quercus spp., birch Betula spp., hazel Corylus avellana, rowan Sorbus aucuparia and other species. Juniper Juniperus communis is common in some areas. Calcareous (mineral-rich) grasslands are found at Lammermuir Deans which includes sheep’sfescue Festuca ovina and common bent Agrostis capillaris. These are common species in the UK but this particular habitat type is rare and declining in the context of East Lothian. Valley fen marsh habitats are also rare and declining in East Lothian, and the Lammermuir Deans contain a mix of fen habitats dominated by soft rush Juncus effusus and sharp-flowered rush Juncus acutiflorus and contain the rare plants hairy stonecrop Sedum villosum and grass-ofparnassus Parnassia palustris. These cleughs also support a number of rare mosses, liverworts and lichens such as the rare lichen Graphis elegans.” Firth of Forth SPA, SSSI and Ramsar site

3.2

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3.6

The Firth of Forth SPA, SSSI and Ramsar site is the closest SPA to the development site: at its nearest point it is 10km to the north-west of the proposed wind turbine location. The site qualifies under Articles 4.1 and 4.2 of the ‘Birds Directive’ (79/409/EEC) by supporting an aggregation of non-breeding birds of international importance, including a winter pink-footed goose population of European and international importance. The SPA citation describes the site as follows: “The Firth of Forth SPA is a complex of estuarine and coastal habitats in south east Scotland stretching east from Alloa to the coasts of Fife and East Lothian. The site includes extensive invertebrate-rich intertidal flats and rocky shores, areas of saltmarsh, lagoons and sand dune. The site is underpinned by the Firth of Forth SSSI. The Firth of Forth SPA qualifies under Article 4.1 by regularly supporting wintering populations (1993/94-97/98 winter peak means) of European importance of the Annex 1 species: red-throated diver Gavia stellata (90 individuals; 2% of GB), Slavonian grebe Podiceps auritus (84; 2% of NW Europe, 21% of GB), golden plover Pluvialis apricaria (2,949; 1% of GB) and bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponica (1,974; 2% of Western Europe, 4% of GB). The site further qualifies under Article 4.1 by regularly supporting a post-breeding (passage) population of European importance of the Annex 1 species sandwich tern Sterna sandvicensis (1,617, 6% of GB, 1% of East Atlantic). The Firth of Forth SPA qualifies under Article 4.2 by regularly supporting wintering populations (1993/94-97/98 winter peak means) of both European and international importance of the migratory species pink-footed goose Anser brachyrhynchus (10,852; 6% of Icelandic/Greenlandic), shelduck Tadorna tadorna (moulting flock of 4,509; 2% of NW European), knot Calidris canutus (9,258; 3% of western European/Canadian), redshank Tringa totanus (4,341; 3% of European/West African) and turnstone Arenaria interpres (860 individuals; 1% of European).

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3.11

The Firth of Forth SPA further qualifies under Article 4.2 by regularly supporting a wintering waterfowl assemblage of European importance: a 1992/93-96/97 winter peak mean of 95,000 waterfowl, comprising 45,000 wildfowl and 50,000 waders. This assemblage includes nationally important numbers of 15 migratory species: great crested grebe Podiceps cristatus (720; 7% of GB), cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo (682; 5% of GB), scaup Aythya marila (437; 4% of GB), eider Somateria mollissima (9,400; 13% of GB), long-tailed duck Clangula hyemalis (1,045; 4% of GB), common scoter Melanitta nigra (2,880; 8% of GB), velvet scoter M. fusca (635; 21% of GB), goldeneye Bucephala clangula (3,004; 18% of GB population), red-breasted merganser Mergus serrator (670; 7% of GB), oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus (7,846; 2% of GB), ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula (328; 1% of GB), grey plover Pluvialis squatarola (724; 2% of GB), dunlin Calidris alpina (9,514; 2% of GB), and curlew Numenius arquata (1,928; 2% of GB). The assemblage also includes large numbers of the following species: wigeon Anas penelope (2,139 [1991/2-95/96]), mallard A. platyrhynchos (2,564 [1991/2-95/96]) and lapwing Vanellus vanellus (4,148 [1991/2-95/96]).” Non-Statutory Designated Sites

3.12

The Wildlife Information Centre provided information on local wildlife sites within 2km of the proposed development. All identified local wildlife sites are managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. Identified local wildlife sites are described below. Cauld burn, which is 340m to the south-west of the proposed turbine location, is the closest local wildlife site to the proposed development. The site comprises a small area of remnant woodland of what was once a larger woodland in a cleugh. Aikengall Glen, which is more than 800m west of the development, is a steep-sided valley formed by erosion of the surrounding conglomerate rock type. The glen supports a mixture of grassland, woodland and wetland habitat. Much of the east side of the glen is covered with gorse. Some grassy flushes run down the glen side supporting fairy flax Linum catharticum devil’s bit scabious Succisa pratensis and butterwort Pinguicula vulgaris. The surrounding area comprises neutral grassland with abundant field mouse-ear Cerastium arvense. Dunglass Burn, which is 1.5km south-east of the proposed development, is in a deep ravine surrounded by grassland, gorse and scattered scrub. Aller Bog is located more than 1km to the south of the proposed wind turbine location. Thornton Burn, more than 1km north-west, and Thornton Glen, is an upland river system with a variety of bank habitat types including gorse scrub, grassland and deciduous woodland. Protected Species

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3.16

The NBN database holds a small number of records of protected species within 2km of the proposed turbine location. These records are summarised in Table 1 below. There are no records that can be attributed to the site itself and, with the exception of bats, all records are more than 10 years old. The Wildlife Information Centre provided a number of records of protected species within 2km of the proposed wind turbine location (Appendix 1), including badger, adder and bird species. None of the records relate to the site itself. Table 1: Historical records of protected species (source: NBN) Common Name Adder Adder Red squirrel Common pipistrelle Common pipistrelle Common pipistrelle Latin Name Vipera berus Vipera berus Sciurus vulgaris Pipistrellus pipistrellus Pipistrellus pipistrellus Pipistrellus pipistrellus Date 1992 1992 1990 2007 2008 2008 Grid Ref. NT77 NT76 NT77 NT7170 NT7170 NT7170 Distance from site Within NT77 hectad Within NT76 hectad Within NT77 hectad At least 500m south At least 500m south At least 500m south

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Field Survey 3.18 The results of the Phase 1 Habitat Survey are described below. For clarity the descriptions have been divided up into the broad habitat types that have been identified within the site. A Phase 1 Habitat Survey map is presented in Appendix 2 with target notes (TN) presented in Appendix 3. Photographs of the site are presented in Appendix 4. Habitat description 3.19 The field, within which the wind turbine will be located, together with the fields adjacent to the north, south, east and west, are improved grassland. Field boundaries are defined by fences – there are no intact hedgerows. More than 790m to the south-east of the proposed wind turbine location there is a large conifer plantation with occasional mature oak trees around the perimeter. There is improved grassland between the wind turbine location and this woodland, and also between the wind turbine location and a second smaller plantation woodland 470m to the south. Improved grassland 3.21 The proposed wind turbine will be constructed in an improved grassland field located near the summit of Cocklaw Hill. The grassland has low species diversity, the sward being dominated by crested dog’s tail Cynosurus cristatus and perennial rye grass Lolium perenne. Occasionally present are creeping bent Agrostis stolonifera, broad-leaved dock Rumex obtusifolius and white clover Trifolium repens (see Appendix 3, TN6). Herb species are very sparse. An extensive patch of soft rush Juncus effusus is present in the south-eastern corner of the field within which the proposed wind turbine will be located (more than 400m from the turbine location). The adjacent fields on all sides are also improved grassland with similar species composition. Occasional soft rush is present in the south-east corner of the turbine field. Scattered gorse Ulex europaeus is present in the field to the north, more than 230m from the wind turbine location at its nearest point. Waterbodies 3.23 A man-made pond, which is approximately 10m wide and 40m long (see Appendix 3, TN4) is present approximately 950m to the south-east of the proposed wind turbine location and 50m to the north of the likely access track. The pond is surrounded by improved grassland with many soft rush tussocks. Aquatic plants growing in the pond include floating sweet-grass Glyceria fluitans and starwort Callitriche sp. At the eastern end by an outlet pipe there is an area of bulrush Typha latifolia covering an area of approximately 10m2. Coniferous woodland 3.24 The nearest coniferous woodland to the proposed turbine location is 280m to the west. This is a semi-mature Sitka spruce plantation where the trees are less than 20m high with trunk diameters that are less than 0.4m. This plantation is separated from the proposed wind turbine location by an improved grassland field. Another plantation is located approximately 470m to the south of the proposed turbine location, and this is similar to the plantation described previously. This is also surrounded by arable and improved grassland habitat. A plantation woodland is also present 790m to the south-east and comprises predominantly of Sitka spruce measuring 18-20m high with trunk diameters ranging from 0.3-0.4m. Around the plantation edge are mature Scot’s pine Pinus sylvestris trees, measuring 18-20m high with trunk diameters of 0.3-0.4m, and mature pedunculate oak Quercus robur trees, measuring 18-22m high with trunk diameters ranging between 0.5-1.2m (see Appendix 3, TN1).

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Broadleaved woodland 3.27 A broadleaved woodland is located more than 1.2km to the south-east of the proposed turbine location, and this comprises a mixture of mature and semi-mature oak trees, occasional coniferous trees and scattered gorse scrub. The woodland is confined to a small incised valley feature with a watercourse flowing at the bottom (see Appendix 3, TN3). Mixed woodland 3.28 A young mixed plantation woodland is present approximately 780m to the south-east of the proposed turbine location (see Appendix 3, TN5). All trees in this plantation are less than 3m in height. Arable 3.29 Arable fields are present within the survey area, the nearest one to the proposed wind turbine location being 650m to the south. Other arable fields are located near Cocklaw farm steading. At the time of survey the arable fields appeared to have recently been ploughed and so no arable weeds or grasses were evident. Structures and Buildings 3.30 The nearest structures and buildings to the proposed wind turbine location are at Cocklaw farm, approximately 1.6km to the south-east. The farm steading comprises a bungalow, a mobile home and a series of barns and workshop. The bungalow has a shallow pitched roof covered with tiles and rendered exterior walls with barge boards around the eaves. It is possible that this roof construction style may provide roosting opportunities for bats, but the building was not closely inspected to confirm this. Adjacent to the bungalow is a mobile home, which is of standard panel construction with no gaps of features that could be used by roosting bats. The surrounding barns and workshops are clad with corrugated sheeting or planks or are open-sided (Dutch style). No features with bat roost potential were identified, although a detailed examination was not carried out. Protected species Badgers 3.32 No signs of badger presence were detected during the walkover survey. Habitats within the vicinity of the proposed wind turbine location are considered to be poor for sett establishment: the pasture habitat is likely to be subject to regular disturbance throughout the year. Whilst this habitat is considered to be poor for sett construction, the pasture land may be used by foraging badgers (if present). The presence of badger cannot be ruled out within adjacent habitats, but the walkover survey confirmed that there are no badger setts within 100m of the wind turbine location or the access track. Bats 3.33 The nearest potential bat roost features to the proposed wind turbine location are associated with some mature oak trees located around the edge of the coniferous plantation 790m to the southeast. These oak trees are considered to have moderate or high bat roost potential. The nearest structures and buildings to the proposed wind turbine location are at Cocklaw farm steading, 1.6km to the south-east. A detailed building inspection was not carried out but it is possible that some of the buildings may have features that are suitable for roosting bats. It is also possible that bats could use the open-sided barns for foraging. Whilst the identified features may have potential to support roosting bats, they are sufficiently distant that impacts arising from the proposed development are considered highly unlikely. There are no direct habitat links, such as hedgerows or watercourses, between features suitable for roosting bats and the proposed wind turbine location. There are woodland edge habitats that may attract foraging or commuting bats; however, these are at least 280m from the proposed wind turbine location.

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3.36

The land around the proposed wind turbine location is improved grassland, which is considered to provide limited foraging opportunities for bats (see Walsh & Harris 1996a,b). Consequently its value as a feeding area or commuting route for bats is likely to be low. It is therefore considered unlikely that bats will regularly fly near the proposed turbine location. Otter

3.37

During the survey of the man-made pond to the south-east of the proposed wind turbine location, an old otter spraint was found near the eastern end. Analysis of the spraint suggests the otter had been feeding on small mammals and fish. The survey data indicate that otter is probably an infrequent visitor to the pond, as the surrounding habitat provides very limited sheltering opportunities. It is very unlikely that otter would move north from the pond towards the wind turbine location. Great crested newts

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The pond located to the south-east of the wind turbine location is surrounded by improved grassland with many soft rush tussocks. The marginal vegetation did not significantly overshadow the pond. Aquatic plants growing in the pond include floating sweet-grass and starwort, both of which may potentially be used by newts for egg laying. The presence of heavily grazed improved grassland around the pond has led to the conclusion that the pond water is likely to be eutrophic (some floc-forming algae was present, which supports this view). Although adult great crested newts can be relatively tolerant of eutrophic conditions, their eggs and larvae are likely to be more vulnerable to changes in dissolved oxygen levels etc. No waterfowl were recorded on the pond. Analysis of otter spraint located next to the pond indicated that the otter had consumed fish, which may therefore be present in the pond. Fish presence reduces the suitability of the pond for newts because some fish predate great crested newts. No other ponds are present within at least 1km of this pond, which means that it is an isolated waterbody. Furthermore the surrounding grassland provides very limited opportunities for newt foraging and sheltering. Suitable newt friendly habitat is available in the scrub and woodland located 140m to the north-east. This habitat is separated from the pond by an expanse of improved grassland with a sward that is kept short by grazing. Whilst the pond may have potential to support small numbers of great crested newts, the poor water and habitat quality complemented by the limited habitat connectivity in the wider landscape, suggest that any great crested newts present would be highly isolated. It is therefore concluded that colonisation of the pond by great crested newts following its construction is very unlikely. It is also concluded that the pond is unlikely to support a viable great crested newt population. Consequently great crested newts have not been considered further in this report. Wintering birds

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The development site lies approximately 10km to the south-east of the Firth of Forth SPA, SSSI and Ramsar site which is, in part, designated for its population of wintering pink-footed geese. The SPA citation states a winter peak mean of 10,852 pink footed geese, 6% of the Icelandic/Greenlandic breeding population. Pink footed geese are known to range over large distances when searching for feeding sites. Research by Therkildsen and Madsen (2000) indicates that pastoral land can be a valuable resource for wintering pink-footed geese, however the improved pasture fields that surround the proposed wind turbine location are considered to provide limited feeding opportunities due to the quality of the habitat. This view is supported by the results of the walkover survey, as no evidence was found to indicate that geese have been feeding in any of these fields. Periodic disturbance, either from grazing animals or associated with farming activities, and the availability of alternative, higher quality feeding sites elsewhere are factors that are also likely to deter geese from using the site. It is concluded that geese are unlikely to congregate in large numbers at the proposed wind turbine development site.

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3.47

Examination of the South-East Scotland Bird Atlas (www.the-soc.org.uk/se-atlas) indicates that pink-footed geese have not been recorded in the tetrad (NT77A) within which the proposed wind turbine will be located. This species has not been recorded in any of the neighbouring tetrads either, the nearest records being more than 4km away to the west and north-west. The same is also true for greylag goose, which is typically present in much smaller numbers in the wider area. Breeding birds: incidental records

3.48

A number of common farmland bird species were recorded at Cocklaw farm steading, both within the farm and within the adjacent coniferous plantation. By comparison very few birds were recorded in the fields within the study area. At Cocklaw farm steading the following species were recorded: jackdaw Corvus monedula, wood pigeon Columba palumbus, blackbird Turdus merula, chaffinch Fringilla coelebs, robin Erithacus rubecula, blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, wren Troglodytes troglodytes and great tit Parus major. A pair of grey partridge Perdix perdix was observed in a field just to the north of the farm steading. Coal tit Periparus ater was observed in the woodland adjacent to the farm steading. Coal tit was also observed in the coniferous plantation 790m to the south-east of the proposed turbine location (see Appendix 3, TN1). Wood pigeon, magpie Pica pica, wren, chaffinch, great tit and pheasant Phasianus colchicus (rearing pens are present) were also recorded in this plantation. In the ploughed field to the east of this plantation at TN2 was a lapwing and a flock of approximately 12 meadow pipit Anthus pratensis. Jackdaw, magpie, and common gull Larus canus were observed in other fields within the study area. Of the species recorded on site during the survey, grey partridge and lapwing are included on the Birds of Conservation Concern (BOCC – Eaton et al., 2009) Red List. Common gull and meadow pipit are included on the Amber List. The Birds of Conservation Concern listing assesses bird species on the basis of their population status, reflecting changes in their abundance and range at the national scale. The BOCC listing categorises birds according to their conservation status as follows. Red List species are of high nature conservation concern and are those that: • • • are Globally Threatened according to international (IUCN) criteria; whose population or range has declined rapidly in recent years; and have declined historically and not shown a substantial recent recovery.

3.49

3.50

3.51

3.52

3.53

3.54

Amber List species are of medium conservation concern, and are those: • • • • • with an unfavourable conservation status in Europe; whose population or range has declined moderately in recent years; whose population has declined historically but made a substantial recent recovery; that are rare breeders; and with internationally important or localised populations.

3.55

No bird species were recorded in the vicinity of the proposed wind turbine location i.e. within 50m. Breeding birds: habitat assessment

3.56

The improved grassland pasture field within which the proposed wind turbine will be located is considered to provide poor habitat for breeding birds. During the bird breeding season, i.e. April to August, the habitat is likely to be subject to widespread and regular disturbance from grazing livestock. This land use is likely to reduce the importance of this habitat for breeding birds, including ground-nesting species.

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3.57

The closest trees with canopies dense enough to support nesting birds are in the plantations located 280m to the west, 470m south and 790m south-east (TN1, see Appendix 3) of the proposed turbine location. Mature trees at the incised valley feature (TN3), more than 1km to the south-east, also have potential to support breeding birds. Additional trees with potential to support nesting birds are present near Cocklaw farm steading, and the steading buildings may be used by nesting swallows Hirundo rustica and/or house martins Delichon urbicum, but this was not confirmed at the time of the site visit. The fields around the proposed turbine location are not bordered by hedgerows or species-rich field margins, and habitat connectivity is poor. Greater habitat connectivity and better nesting and feeding opportunities are likely to be present in areas of woodland to the south-east of the proposed development. This habitat, however, is more than 790m from the proposed wind turbine location. Other Species

3.58

3.59

Brown hare Lepus europaeus was recorded on the east side of the plantation located to the east of the wind turbine location (Appendix 2, TN2). It is likely that this species will also use the grassland habitat in the field within which the proposed wind turbine will be located. No signs of other protected species were recorded during the site visits. Hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus may be present in areas of denser vegetation, such as the plantation woodland, but no suitable habitat is present in the vicinity of the proposed wind turbine location. No evidence was found during the survey to confirm that this species is present. Common frog Rana temporaria spawn was identified within the man-made pond located to the south-east of the proposed wind turbine location.

3.60

3.61

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4

Assessment
Constraints on Study Information

4.1

All parts of the site were fully accessed during the survey and a detailed and thorough site inspection has been carried out. Although the survey work was carried out during the late winter, it was nevertheless possible to thoroughly evaluate the habitats present as they are all species-poor, heavily impacted farmland habitats. The survey was carried out in good weather conditions. It was not possible to carry out a breeding bird survey due to the timing of the site visit, however this is not considered to be a significant constraint as the habitat assessment has led to the conclusion that the site is poor for nesting birds, including ground-nesting birds. Similarly, it was not possible to carry out any bat activity surveys, but this is not considered to be a significant constraint as the turbine location has been selected to minimise impacts on bats by avoiding sensitive habitats. Policy and Guidance

4.2

4.3

The general methodology adopted within this ecological impact assessment pays explicit regard to the requirements of, and the advice given in the following documents: • • • Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds (the “Birds Directive”); Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the “Habitats Directive”); The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2007 (the “Habitats Regulations”, which translates the Birds Directive and Habitats Directive into UK law); The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended; Nature Conservation (Scotland ) Act 2004 Scottish Planning Policy, published by the Scottish Government The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP); The Local Biodiversity Action Plan.

• • • • • 4.4

The ecological impact assessment has been carried out with reference to current guidance published by the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (2006), which is recognised as best practice. Legislation Overview

4.5

Section 1 of the Nature Conservation Scotland Act 2004 states that ‘It is the duty of every public body and office-holder, in exercising any functions, to further the conservation of biodiversity so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions’. To assist with this objective Section 2(4) of the Act sets out the requirement to publish a list of flora and fauna considered to be of principal importance in Scotland. This list has now been published and includes a diverse range of habitats and species. The measures required to protect these species and habitats are set out in the document ‘Scotland's Biodiversity: It's in Your Hands - A strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland’ (Scottish Executive, 2004). The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.)Regulations 1994, The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 are the three key pieces of wildlife legislation that set out the framework for the protection of certain species, habitats and sites in Scotland.

4.6

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Birds 4.7 All birds are protected under Section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), which makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird or take damage or destroy the nest while in use or being built or take or destroy an egg. Certain species of bird that are listed in Schedule 1 of the Act receive additional protection. For these species it is an offence to recklessly disturb the bird while it is on its nest or to disturb the dependant young of such a species. The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994, The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2006 and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 are the three key pieces of wildlife legislation that set out the framework for the protection of certain bird species and the habitats that they depend upon in Scotland. As previously noted, Section 2(4) of the Nature Conservation Scotland Act 2004 sets out the requirement to publish a list of flora and fauna considered to be of principal importance in Scotland. The published list includes a number of bird species, some of which may be present at the proposed development site (www.biodiversityscotland.gov.uk). Bats 4.10 Bats and their roosts are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended by the Nature Conservation Scotland Act, 2004), and by the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended in 2007). In summary, this legislation makes it an offence to damage or destroy any bat roost, intentionally or recklessly obstruct a bat roost, deliberately, intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat or intentionally kill, injure or take any bat. Section 1 of the Nature Conservation Scotland Act 2004 states that ‘It is the duty of every public body and office-holder, in exercising any functions, to further the conservation of biodiversity so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions’. To assist with this objective Section 2(4) sets out the requirement to publish a list of flora and fauna considered to be of principal importance. This list has now been published and includes all species of bat native to Scotland, and the measures required to protect these species and habitats are set out in the document ‘Scotland's Biodiversity: It's in Your Hands - A strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland’ (Scottish Executive, 2004). The Scottish Biodiversity List is a list of flora, fauna and habitats considered by Scottish Ministers to be of principal importance for the purposes of furthering the conservation of biodiversity. The publication of the list, which is intended to be a tool for public bodies doing their biodiversity duty under section 1 of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, satisfies the requirement in Section 2 (4) of the Act to publish lists of flora, fauna and habitats of principal importance for biodiversity conservation. The following species of bat have been included in the Scottish Biodiversity List: Brandt's bat; whiskered bat; natterer's bat; noctule bat; nathusius's pipistrelle; common pipistrelle; soprano pipistrelle. Biodiversity Action Plans 4.14 A number of species of particular conservation concern have also been assigned priority status under the UK BAP. In the case of birds these are generally species which occur on the UK Red List and usually belong to groups that are particularly influenced by unfavourable land management. Certain habitats are also identified within the UK BAP as requiring conservation measures at the national level. Some species and habitats are also given priority within the East Lothian Biodiversity Action Plan, and these require action at the local level. Examination of the East Lothian Biodiversity Action Plan indicates that none of the habitats within the study area are priority BAP habitats. The site is also considered to be poor for priority BAP species.

4.8

4.9

4.11

4.12

4.13

4.15

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Potential Impacts 4.16 It is proposed to construct a single wind turbine, which will have a hub height of 32.8m with a 47m rotor diameter. The rotor swept area would therefore extend from 9.3m to 56.3m above ground level. Construction Phase Impacts 4.17 The construction phase of the proposed development will involve a number of elements, all of which will have the potential to impact upon the ecological interest of the site. The construction elements that are most likely to result in an ecological impact include: • • • • 4.18 Construction of a turbine foundation and crane pad; Installation of electrical cabling etc; Establishment of a construction compound and a materials lay-down area; and Erection and commissioning of the wind turbine.

The impacts of all of the above construction processes are considered further within this section. Impacts on Designated Sites

4.19

Lammermuir Deans Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is the only statutory designated wildlife site located within 2km of the proposed development site: at its nearest point the SSSI is approximately 1.3km to the south-west of the proposed turbine location. No direct or indirect impacts are predicted on the SSSI during the construction phase of the proposed wind turbine development because of the separation distance between the sites. Impacts on habitats and vegetation

4.20

The turbine will be accessed via the existing access track that runs from Cocklaw farm to the communication masts located to the north of the proposed turbine location. It may be necessary to upgrade this track and it will be necessary to construct all other associated infrastructure. The construction of the turbine foundation and associated crane pad will result in the permanent loss and disturbance of a small area of improved grassland habitat. Habitat losses will occur within the footprint of all the built elements described, whilst some temporary habitat disturbance is predicted around the periphery of these areas. The habitat that will be affected by the proposed work is species-poor and considered to be of low biodiversity importance. It is possible that the materials used for the construction of the crane pad and foundations could have a localised effect on botanical diversity, principally as a result of leaching. Given the nature of the soils, chemical leaching is not considered to represent a significant threat to the habitats and species present, particularly if locally-sourced stone is used in the construction of access tracks. Furthermore, the improved grassland field that will be affected by the proposed works supports a limited range of species that are unlikely to be influenced by small-scale localised changes in the soil chemistry. The use of concrete in the construction of foundations may lead to local changes in soil chemistry, but any changes are likely to be minimal if appropriate pollution prevention measures are adopted. The habitat that will be affected, i.e. pasture farmland, is considered to have low ecological importance. No trees will be affected by the proposed construction work: all of the identified trees are located outside the development footprint and they will be protected during the construction phase of the development.

4.21

4.22

4.23

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Impacts on birds 4.24 No bird species were recorded within the pasture field where the proposed wind turbine will be located. Elsewhere jackdaw, magpie, and common gull were the only species recorded within pasture and arable fields, and these species were present in small numbers. It is considered unlikely that significant numbers of birds will use the improved grassland for anything other than occasional foraging due to the poor quality of the habitat and the likely high levels of disturbance associated with grazing etc. Consequently it is predicted that the proposed development will only have a minor impact on birds using the grassland habitat as a result of direct habitat loss and disturbance arising from the construction process. Other birds that were recorded during the survey were associated with the coniferous plantations, which are all more than 280m from the proposed wind turbine location. This habitat will not be directly affected by the proposed work, and indirect disturbance impacts are considered to be unlikely due to the distance between the sensitive habitats and the proposed development site. Although two BOCC Red Listed species (grey partridge and lapwing) and two Amber Listed species (common gull and meadow pipit; Eaton et al., 2009) were recorded during the site visit, none of the recorded species are considered to be particularly sensitive to disturbance arising from the proposed development. It is also unlikely that these species will be present, other than on an occasional basis, in the area where the wind turbine will be constructed (they were all recorded more than 100m from the proposed wind turbine location). It is considered unlikely that high numbers of geese will use the grassland habitats in the vicinity of the proposed turbine location. There is likely to be periodic disturbance, either from grazing animals or associated with farming activities, which may deter geese. No geese were recorded during the site visit. The nearest known goose roost sites are at the Firth of Forth SPA, at least 10km north of the proposed wind turbine location. The exact location of any goose feeding areas near the proposed wind turbine site are not known, but data published on the South-East Scotland Bird Atlas website (www.the-soc.org.uk/se-atlas) indicate that pink-footed geese have not previously been recorded within at least 4km of the proposed wind turbine location. Even assuming that low numbers of geese occasionally fly over the site, it is concluded that disturbance arising from the construction of a single turbine will be short-term and temporary in nature. At worst, this may result in small local deviations in their flight path to avoid the area of disturbance. It is concluded that the proposed construction work will not have a significant impact on any notable or protected bird species. Impacts on protected species 4.30 Brown hare were found to be present within the study area, more than 750m to the east of the proposed turbine location. This separation distance will minimize noise and visual disturbance arising from construction activities. Any disturbance will be short-term in duration and temporary in nature. It is considered unlikely that brown hare will be negatively impacted. Assessment of the habitats present within the study area indicates that some of the trees have potential to support roosting bats. However, impacts on roosting bats are considered unlikely because of the distance of these habitats from the proposed wind turbine location (at least 280m). . During the construction phase of the development all trees will be protected, and so disturbance of bat roosts (if present) is very unlikely. It is also considered unlikely that noise and vibration arising from the development will impact on bats within roosts that are at least 280m away (if bats are indeed present). The separation distance will ensure that the effects of noise and vibration are minimized.

4.25

4.26

4.27

4.28

4.29

4.31

4.32

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Operational Phase Impacts Impacts on habitats and vegetation 4.33 Access to the wind turbine will be via an existing track and, following construction of site infrastructure, there will not be any further disturbance of vegetation within the site. It is understood that the land on which the turbine will be constructed will remain as pasture, and consequently there will be no change in land use as a direct consequence of the proposed development. Any change in land use will take place independently of the proposed development. Consequently during the operation phase of the development there will be no further impact on habitats and vegetation. Impacts on birds 4.34 It is now widely accepted that operating wind farm developments may adversely affect birds in three ways (Percival 2000): • • • 4.35 Collision with the operating wind turbines or associated structures (such as power lines, fencing). Direct habitat loss or disruption from the construction of turbine foundations and access tracks. Indirect habitat loss through disturbance of areas close to the turbines.

Examination of the area around the site has led to the conclusion that it is unlikely to be used by large numbers of key focal bird species or used regularly by such species. Impacts arising from habitat loss are discussed in the previous section. It is possible that disturbance impacts could extend beyond the area affected by direct habitat loss, as both noise and visual effects may be wider ranging. The maximum distance that wind turbines have been reported to affect breeding birds is 300m (Percival 2000). However, some studies have found no disturbance effect at all (e.g. Percival 2000). General disturbance effects (i.e. not just effects on breeding birds) have been reported for some species (mostly lowland waders and gulls) up to 500m from wind turbines (Percival 2000). If disturbance impacts arise during the operation of the wind turbine, it is likely that this will only extend across the improved grassland that surrounds the proposed turbine location. An assessment of this habitat has led to the conclusion that it is considered unlikely that significant numbers of birds will use the improved grassland for anything other than occasional foraging due to the poor quality of the habitat and the likely high levels of disturbance associated with grazing etc. However, the worst case assessment is that disturbance is only predicted to result in the localised displacement of some species, and for this reason any impacts will be limited in their extent. Impacts on geese

4.36

4.37

4.38

An assessment of the fields around the proposed wind turbine location found no evidence that geese have been feeding or roosting in the area. Although no vantage point survey work has been carried out at the proposed wind turbine site, it cannot be ruled out that geese may fly over the site whilst traveling between roost and feeding grounds. However, evaluation of the available data indicates that local commuting flights of this type are unlikely. In the UK the model that is most widely used for collision risk assessments is that devised by Band et al. (2007). This model uses vantage point survey data in a two-stage calculation: stage 1 is the calculation of the number of bird movements that take place through the area swept by the rotors; stage 2 is the risk of a bird colliding with the rotors. The results of the two stages are then used to calculate a theoretical mortality rate that assumes no avoidance action is taken by birds. As a ‘worst case’ within the model, an assumption is made that the birds enact no avoidance behaviour or make any modifications to their normal flying activities as a result of the presence of the turbine, or any risk presented by the stationary or moving rotor. An avoidance rate then needs to be applied that should ideally be empirically based for each target species,

4.39

4.40

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4.41

Fernley et al. (2006) looked specifically at geese collision risk, and concluded that a collision avoidance rate of 99.9% is probably more accurate for geese. The robustness of Fernley’s conclusions were questioned in an appraisal carried out by Pendlebury (2006), which observed that Fernley et al. had only used data from four sites and that the estimates were only relevant for one species – Canada goose Branta canadensis. Nevertheless, this does lend weight to the assertion that avoidance rates for geese are likely to be higher than the standard 95% figure that is routinely adopted for other species. A review of the effects of wind farms on birds by Hotker et al. (2006) showed that geese typically avoid wind farms by distances that range from 250m to 450m and sometimes as far as 850m. This would suggest that geese are likely to avoid the operating wind turbine, reducing the likelihood of collision impacts occurring. Since the publication of these reports, SNH has concluded that geese do exhibit a higher rate of avoidance than the precautionary 95% avoidance rate that is typically used for collision risk assessments. Consequently SNH now advises that a 99% avoidance rate is a suitably precautionary figure when assessing collision risk for goose species. As extensive flight data are not available for the Dunbar Community wind turbine site, it is not possible to apply the model to calculate collision risk for geese flying over this site. However, it is possible to use the model in a theoretical manner to determine how many goose flights would need to take place across the site before an impact is observed. If it is assumed that geese are present during the period September to April, that they are active during daylight hours and 25% of the night period, and that there is a 99% collision avoidance rate, a skein of 30 geese would need to fly through the rotor swept area 40 times to result in an increase in the mortality rate of one bird per annum. A skein of 30 geese was chosen for this exercise as this is the estimated maximum number that could fly through the rotor swept area (47m rotor diameter) with all birds being placed at collision risk. This is based on the assumption that the birds have a wing span of 161cm, which is the published maximum wing span of pink footed geese (Mullarney et al. 1999). Based on the results of the limited field work carried out to date, complemented by the desk study data that have been compiled, this level of impact is considered to be very unlikely. Overall it is considered unlikely that geese will be killed by the operating wind turbine in sufficient numbers to have an adverse effect on local populations. Impacts on protected species

4.42

4.43

4.44

4.45

4.46

The nearest potential bat roosts to the proposed wind turbine location are more than 790m to the south-east in mature oak trees located at the edge of a coniferous plantation. Furthermore, the wind turbine will be located in habitat that is considered to be poor for foraging and commuting bats. Bats have very specific habitat requirements for foraging, and in broad terms they tend to favour broadleaf woodland and water whilst generally avoiding arable land, moorland and improved grassland (Walsh and Harris 1996a, b). The poor habitat quality around the proposed wind turbine location is considered to provide poor foraging opportunities that are not typically favoured by bats. It has also been shown that linear habitat features, such as watercourses and woodland margins, are particularly important for commuting bats, often providing links between neighbouring habitat units. The nearest linear habitat feature to the proposed turbine location is plantation edge over 280m to the west. It is concluded that direct or indirect impacts on bats are very unlikely. The nearest buildings to the proposed wind farm location are located within farm steadings that are more than 1.6km away. Any bat roosts present in these buildings are unlikely to be affected by the proposed development. There is no evidence to suggest that brown hare are impacted by operational wind turbines. Consequently, no negative impacts on brown hare are anticipated during the operational stage of the proposed project. No other protected species have been identified within the site. Consequently no additional impacts are anticipated during the operational phase of the development.

4.47

4.48

4.49

4.50

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Mitigation Measures Mitigation Measures for Habitats 4.51 Construction activities will be managed so that vehicle use on areas outside the working area will be avoided, thereby minimising the physical extent of any habitat disturbance that takes place. Mitigation measures are proposed as follows: • • • 4.52 Movement of tracked or heavy vehicles will be limited to defined site tracks. The hard-standing area of the proposed turbine will be kept to the minimum necessary, including all site clearance works, in order to minimise disturbance to flora and fauna. The turbine foundation will be re-graded with spoil from other site works.

Good working practices will prevail throughout construction and operation of the development. All fuels will be kept in bunded areas, thereby minimising the extent of any impacts associated with accidental spillage. Access to the site will be via the existing access track, which may require some upgrading but which will ensure that there is no loss of habitat. Mitigation Measures for Birds

4.53

4.54

The following measures are proposed to ensure that impacts on nesting birds are minimised: • • • Construction operations will take place during the hours of daylight to minimise disturbance to roosting birds or active crepuscular / nocturnal bird species. Construction activity will be avoided during the breeding bird season or, if this is not possible, will only take place once a checking survey has been carried out. Protection zones will be established around bird nesting sites and these will extend at least 30m from each identified nest site.

Mitigation Measures for Bats 4.55 Bats typically avoid foraging or commuting over open ground, such as improved grassland (Walsh & Harris, 1996a,b). Consequently the location of the wind turbine within an area of improved grassland means that it is very unlikely that bats will forage in the vicinity of the proposed wind turbine, either in large numbers or regularly. The current guidance provided by Natural England (2009), which has been adopted by SNH, is that a 50m exclusion zone be applied around any feature used by bats for roosting, foraging or commuting. The nearest feature potentially used by foraging bats to the proposed wind turbine is 280m to the west. It is therefore considered to be the case that the Natural England exclusion zone requirement has been exceeded within the proposed development, i.e. the wind turbine is more than 50m from important bat habitat. It is for the reasons set out above that it is considered reasonable to conclude that the proposed mitigation will reduce the overall impact on any bat species that may be present. The proposed turbine location is at least 790 from the nearest potential bat roost. Consequently the proposed wind turbine location will ensure that the risk of bats being impacted during the construction and operation of the wind turbine is minimal.

4.56

4.57

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5
5.1

Summary
It is proposed to construct a single wind turbine and associated infrastructure within an area of improved grassland pasture near the summit of Cocklaw Hill. The proposed work will result in the loss of a small area of improved grassland habitat that is considered to be of minimal ecological interest: the field has low floristic diversity. A limited range of bird species has been identified within the study area, and an assessment of the habitats within the site has concluded that the site is only likely to support a limited range of common farmland bird species. The few species observed during the walkover survey were mainly using trees in the coniferous plantation 280m west and the buildings at Cocklaw farm steading 1.6km south-east. The field where the wind turbine will be located is considered to be poor for nesting birds. The development may potentially result in the disturbance of a small number of common farmland birds, but this is predicted to be a short-term and temporary impact. Assessment of the fields around the proposed wind turbine location found no evidence that geese have been present. Desk study data indicate that the area does not support large numbers of pinkfooted and greylag geese. Although no vantage point survey work has been carried out, a theoretical collision risk analysis indicated that the development does not pose a significant risk to geese. The development is not predicted to impact upon protected species, including bats. A minimum 280m stand-off has been maintained from the nearest trees or woodland areas or buildings. It is considered that the development is in accordance with current best practice guidance (Natural England, 2009).

5.2

5.3

5.4

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6

References
Band, W., Madders, M., and Whitfield, D.P. (2007). Developing field and analytical methods to assess avian collision risk at wind farms. In: de Lucas, M., Janss, G.F.E. and Ferrer, M. (eds.) Birds and Wind Farms: Risk Assessment and Mitigation, pp. 259- 275. Quercus, Madrid Bat Conservation Trust (2007). Bat Surveys – Good Practice Guidelines. Published by the Bat Conservation Trust. Eaton, M.A., Brown, A.F., Noble, D.G., Musgrove, A.J., Hearn, R., Aebischer, N.J., Gibbons, D.W., Evans, A. and Gregory, R.D. (2009). Birds of Conservation Concern 3: the population status of birds in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. British Birds 102, pp296–341. Fernley, J., Lowther, S. and Whitfield P. (2006). A Review of Goose Collisions at Operating Wind Farms and Estimation of the Goose Avoidance Rate. Unpublished Report by West Coast Energy, Hyder Consulting and Natural Research Hötker, H., Thomsen, K.-M. and H. Jeromin. (2006). Impacts on biodiversity of exploitation of renewable energy sources: the example of birds and bats - facts, gaps in knowledge, demands for further research, and ornithological guidelines for the development of renewable energy exploitation. Michael-Otto-Institut im NABU, Bergenhusen. JNCC (2003). Handbook for Phase 1 Habitat Surveys. JNCC Mullarney, K., Svensson, L., Zetterstrom, HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd, London. D. and Grant, P.J. (1999). Bird Guide.

Natural England (2009). Technical information note TIN059: Bats and single large wind turbines: Joint Agencies interim guidance. http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/33013?category=34022 Oldham, R.S., Keeble, J., Swan, M.J.S., and Jeffcote, M. (2000). Evaluating the suitability of habitat for the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus). Herpetological Journal. 10:143-155 Pendlebury, C. (2006). An appraisal of "A review of goose collisions at operating wind farms and estimation of the goose avoidance rate" by Fernley, J., Lowther, S. and Whitfield, P. BTO Research Report No. 455, published by BTO Scotland. Percival, S.M. (2000). Birds and wind turbines in Britain. British Wildlife 12: 8-15. Scottish Natural Heritage (2005). Survey methods for use in assessing the impacts of onshore windfarms on bird communities. Scottish Natural Heritage, Battleby. Therkildsen, O.R. and Masden, J. (2000). Energetics of feeding on winter wheat versus pasture grasses: a window of opportunity for winter range expansion in the pinkfooted goose Anser brachyrhynchus. Wildlife Biology 6:65-74 Walsh, A.L. and Harris, S. (1996a). Foraging habitat preferences of vespertilionid bats in Britain. Journal of Applied Ecology, 33, 508-518. Walsh, A.L and Harris, S. (1996b). Factors determining the abundance of vespertilionid bats in Britain: geographical, land class and local habitat relationships. Journal of Applied Ecology, 33, 519-529. www.ukbap.org.uk

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7

Appendix 1: Desk study data
Common Name Date Grid Ref. Distance from the site

The Wildlife Information Centre records for protected species recorded within 2km radius of the site Latin Name

Reptiles Vipera berus Mammals Meles meles Birds Accipiter nisus Accipiter nisus Alauda arvensis Anas platyrhynchos Anthus pratensis Anthus pratensis Ardea cinerea Buteo buteo Buteo buteo Buteo buteo Carduelis cannabina Carduelis carduelis Carduelis carduelis Carduelis flammea Carduelis spinus Carduelis spinus Cyanistes caeruleus Cyanistes caeruleus Emberiza citrinella Erithacus rubecula Erithacus rubecula Erithacus rubecula Falco tinnunculus Haematopus ostralegus Hirundo rustica Hirundo rustica Lagopus lagopus Larus ridibundus Motacilla alba Motacilla alba Eurasian Sparrowhawk Eurasian Sparrowhawk Sky Lark Mallard Meadow Pipit Meadow Pipit Grey Heron Common Buzzard Common Buzzard Common Buzzard Common Linnet European Goldfinch European Goldfinch Common Redpoll Eurasian Siskin Eurasian Siskin Blue Tit Blue Tit Yellowhammer European Robin European Robin European Robin Common Kestrel Eurasian Oystercatcher Barn Swallow Barn Swallow Willow Ptarmigan Black-headed Gull Pied Wagtail Pied Wagtail 1992 1993 1991 1992 06/05/1993 1991 1992 15/08/1995 1992 1993 06/05/1993 1991 1992 1992 14/09/1997 1991 1991 30/09/1993 1991 06/05/1993 1992 30/09/1993 1992 1992 16/07/2006 1992 1992 1992 06/05/1993 16/07/2006 NT76J NT76J NT76J NT76J NT705699 NT76J NT76J NT705718 NT76J NT76J NT705699 NT76J NT76J NT76J NT735709 NT76J NT76J NT712714 NT76J NT705699 NT76J NT712714 NT76J NT76J NT728703 NT76J NT76J NT76J NT705699 NT728703 At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south 2km south-west At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south 1.5km west At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south 2km south-west At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south 1.5km south-east At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south 0.7km west At least 1.5km south 2km south-west At least 1.5km south 0.7km west At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south 1.5km south-east At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south 2km south-west 1.5km south-east Eurasian Badger 1970 - 1993 NT736723 1.5km north-east Adder 11/08/1995 NT705718 1.5km west

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Dunbar Community Wind Turbine

Motacilla alba subsp. yarrellii Numenius arquata Parus major Perdix perdix Periparus ater Phylloscopus trochilus Regulus regulus Regulus regulus Saxicola rubetra Troglodytes troglodytes Troglodytes troglodytes Turdus philomelos Turdus viscivorus Vanellus vanellus

Pied Wagtail

1992

NT76J

At least 1.5km south

Eurasian Curlew Great Tit Grey Partridge Coal Tit Willow Warbler Goldcrest Goldcrest Whinchat Winter Wren Winter Wren Song Thrush Mistle Thrush Northern Lapwing

1992 1992 1992 1991 06/05/1993 06/05/1993 1991 06/05/1993 1992 30/09/1993 1991 1992 1992

NT76J NT76J NT76J NT76J NT705699 NT705699 NT76J NT705699 NT76J NT712714 NT76J NT76J NT76J

At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south 2km south-west 2km south-west At least 1.5km south 2km south-west At least 1.5km south 700m west At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south At least 1.5km south

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Dunbar Community Wind Turbine b y e

8

Appendix 2: Phase 1 Habita Survey Map e at

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Dunbar Community Wind Turbine

9

Appendix 3: Phase 1 Habitat Survey Target Notes
Description Mature plantation – predominantly sitka spruce (18-20m x 0.3-0.4m). Around edge are mature Scot’s pine (18-20m x 0.3-0.4m) and mature oak (18-22m x 0.5-1.2m). Some oak may have moderate or high bat roost potential. Grass strip approximately 30m wide – same species as TN 2. Small incised valley feature with a small stream flowing south. Mixture of mature/semi-mature oak and occ. conifers (spruce) and occ. gorse. Artificial pond (10m x 40m) – fenced off. Surrounded by improved grassland with many soft rush 2 tussocks. Aquatic plants – Glyceria fluitans, Callitriche sp. Approximately 10m of bullrush at outlet (eastern end). Frogspawn at eastern end. Old otter spraint at eastern end – appears to have been feeding on mammals and fish. Young mixed plantation (all trees <3m high). Improved grassland – crested dog’s tail, perennial rye grass, occ. Creeping bent, occ. Broadleaved dock, occ. White clover. Herbs very sparse.

Target note 1

2 3 4

5 6

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Dunbar Community Wind Turbine

10

Appendix 4: Site Photographs
Photo 2: Young mixed plantation at TN7, viewed from the east

Photo 1: Existing access track adjacent to improved field where the proposed turbine will be located

Photo 3: Artificial pond at TN6, viewed from the west

Photo 4: Open-sided barn at Cocklaw farm steading.

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