24 April 2006 – ScottishPower has been awarded the UK’s leading business accolade, the Queen’s Award, for its efforts in Sustainable Development for its collaborative and responsible approach to windfarm development.
The award commends ScottishPower for adopting a highly sustainable and inclusive approach to project development, going beyond standard practice and regulatory requirements and highlights two projects Beinn an Tuirc and Black Law windfarms.
The Queen’s Award stated, “ScottishPower has demonstrated exemplary leadership and management in its delivery of sustainable business practice.”
Black Law in Central Scotland, at 143 MW is the largest consented onshore windfarm in the UK. The windfarm is constructed on the site of an abandoned opencast mine which was completely restored to shallow wetlands by ScottishPower during the windfarm construction programme.
The windfarm also incorporates an extensive habitat enhancement project, covering over 14 square kilometres, the largest such project ever undertaken by any UK wind developer. ScottishPower worked closely with environmental bodies including RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage, local councils and the landowners to create suitable habitats to encourage valued species such as long-eared owls, black grouse, farmland birds and badgers.
Simon Zisman, the central Scotland conservation officer for RSPB, said: “Black Law has taken a badly scarred site and vastly improved it. The terrible damage done by opencast mining has been reversed. As well as improving the landscape this will benefit a range of wildlife notably breeding waders and farmland birds. It would be fantastic to see the level of commitment and resources invested in this project by ScottishPower continued throughout the rest of the industry.”
The 46 turbine, 30 MW, Beinn an Tuirc windfarm in Argyll was carefully designed to incorporate an extensive habitat enhancement plan on adjacent ground for the benefit of rare golden eagles in the area. During construction of the windfarm ScottishPower created habitat for important prey species such as red grouse by clearing 450 hectares of conifer plantation and regenerating traditional heather moorland.
The plan has created new hunting ground for the eagles, assisting their survival and increasing their prospects of breeding success. At the same time the red grouse too have prospered and have moved back in numbers.