Accepted biodiversity loss of peatland habitats in Environmental Impact Assessments for onshore windfarm developments in the South West of Scotland
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Boyd, Iain I
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Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) ensure that developers consider the environmental impact of their projects. EIAs guarantee that the impacts and effects of developments on the environment are considered in sufficient detail to provide decision makers with enough information to determine whether or not a project should proceed. Within EIAs the impacts on biodiversity are covered however these impacts are often considered as insignificant at the project level. Onshore wind energy has seen rapid development over recent years within Scotland to help achieve renewable energy targets. A lot of these developments occur in areas where valuable peatland habitat is present, which is abundant in Scotland but globally scarce. Analysis of several Environmental Statements for onshore wind farms in the south west of Scotland found that peatland was present at multiple sites however impacts were often considered as insignificant. Analysis was conducted to determine the extent of these losses and whether the principle of No Net Loss, ecosystem services or a natural capital approaches would lead to a different outcome.