CONCERN ABOUT ACCESS TO WIND FARM SITES FOR MONITORING
Posted on the 1st February 2015
WEF ACCESS DURING OPERATIONAL PHASE MONITORING
I have studied, with dismay, the first two Operational Phase avifauna and bat monitoring progress reports from
the Dassiesklip WEF at Caledon, Overberg. I receive them as a condition imposed by the DEA following my Appeal
on behalf of BirdLife Overberg against the Authorisation in September 2011. I presume you are also receiving
these as well as reports from many other WEFs?
I am particularly dismayed because it is something I predicted in our appeal submission:
“Monitoring could be hindered by seasonal variations from crop growth cycles, thus hampering access and
Access to farmland and wind facilities should be guaranteed for monitoring personnel. It is recommended
that this be stipulated as a mandatory condition of leases with land-owners.”
In summary, the majority land-owner at Dassiesklip has refused the necessary access to land to perform
monitoring and carcass searches, and has also erected extensive fencing making access difficult if not impossible
for appropriate operational monitoring. The same applies for bat monitoring.
Is this a one-off case or are the same problems occurring at other WEFs?
Will the Birds and Wind Energy Specialist and Working Groups consider these issues and how to redress them?
It may seem like a case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, but will the Groups now work
towards stipulating access rights in all future lease agreements and contracts between land-owners and wind
(and solar) power developers?
Clearly guidelines and definitions will have to be developed to avoid unnecessary damage to crops, but by and
large land should be available for monitoring for most of the year.
Meanwhile, perhaps the DEA and developers could be lobbied to introduce retrospective clauses to this effect?
Cc. By email to:
Hanneline Smit-Robinson, BirdLife South Africa; Endangered Wildlife Trust; CapeNature; BirdLife Overberg;
Overberg Lowlands Conservation Trust; Overberg Crane Group; Sandie Sowler, SABAAP