SSER

Griffin Wind Farm

About the case study

Project: SSER Griffin Wind Farm (68 turbines, 2,500 ha)

 

Location: Aberfeldy, Scotland

 

Cost: ~100,000 GBP per year for the habitat management plan, plus one-off initial upfront cost of a few million pounds

 

Dates: 2008 – onwards

 

Objectives: Maintain, enhance, and/or extend moorland, bogs, conifer free buffers around lochs and watercourses, areas of semi-natural and riparian woodland and scrub. Safeguard and enhance the black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix) population of the site. Safeguard the breeding raptor population on site. Create places of shelter for pine marten (Martes martes) and otter (Lutra lutra).

 

Measures undertaken:
During Design, Consenting and Permitting
Allowed heathland vegetation to regenerate naturally in brash and inter-brash areas. Improved forest structure through deliberate retention of some commercially viable species (e.g., Pinus sylvestris) beyond their optimal felling age, permanent retention of stands where possible, selected thinning, and feather edging future re-stock areas. Created a mosaic of heather age classes in the powerline way leave via heather burning or flail mowing for black grouse. Removed, lowered, or marked fences to reduce black grouse collisions. Retained sediment lagoons to encourage breeding amphibians and provided supplementary aquatic planting. Installed pine marten boxes..
Operation
Controlling bracken encroachment and maintaining appropriate level of grazing to prevent scrub encroachment and encourage a diverse sward structure. Controlling conifer regeneration around waterbodies and courses. Monitoring and maintaining planting areas and artificial habitats (e.g., otter holts), monitoring key species populations, monitoring flight activity to reduce propellor collisions. Developing and utilising an SSER BNG toolkit for site appraisal.

 

Results: A 66% uplift in biodiversity units when compared to pre-construction levels. Planted 12,000+ native broadleaved trees (since 2012). A stable and increasing black grouse population. Wetlands created from construction settlement ponds provide ideal habitats for otters (a European protected species and a target species). Increased prey species for pine martens.

 

Success factors:

  • Having a dynamic Habitat Management Plan; and
  • Demonstrating successful delivery of the Habitat Management Plans’ objectives through monitoring and periodic reviews enabled recommendations to be defined and provided evidence for the granting of adaptive management options by NatureScot.

Images copyright:  SSER