£88,000 bat study contract is awarded

The impact of wind farms in the Borders on three rare and endangered species of bat will be the focus of a major study commissioned last week.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has awarded the contract to carry out the work – worth £88,000 – to the Norfolk-based British Trust for Ornithology.

Fieldwork will begin later this year and a report on the findings published in March 2017.

The research will cover the whole of the south of Scotland and gather data on two species of the Nyctalus genus – Leisler’s Bat and the Noctule – along with the migratory Nathusius’ Pipistrelle.

“Given their rarity and their vulnerability to wind turbines, there is an urgent need for better, more comprehensive information of their [the bats’] respective ranges,” said a spokesperson for SNH which received five tenders for the contract.

There are currently around 600 turbines either operating or consented in the Borders.