Wind farm development on peatlands increases fluvial macronutrient loading

Heal, K., Phin, A., Waldron, S. , Flowers, H., Bruneau, P., Coupar, A. and Cundill, A. (2020) Wind farm development on peatlands increases fluvial macronutrient loading. AMBIO, 49, pp. 442-459. (doi: 10.1007/s13280-019-01200-2) (PMID:31140159)

[img] Text
186474.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.



Wind farms can help to mitigate increasing atmospheric carbon (C) emissions. However, disturbance caused by wind farm development must not have lasting deleterious impacts on landscape C sequestration. To understand the effects of wind farm development on peatlands, we monitored streamwater at Europe’s second largest onshore wind farm (539 MW), Whitelee, Scotland, for 31 months. Using nested catchment sampling to understand impacts on water quality, increasing macronutrient concentrations and exports were associated with wind farm development, particularly forest-felling and borrow pits. Low/poor water quality occurred in small headwater catchments most disturbed by development. At the site exit, dissolved organic C and soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) concentrations increased during construction, though [SRP] recovery occurred within 2 years. Since C was lost and streamwater quality negatively affected, we propose future good practice measures for wind farm development, including limiting total disturbance within individual catchments and locating borrow pits, where deemed necessary, off site avoiding peatlands.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) funded AP’s PhD studentship, and the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow and SAGES supported field and analytical activities.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Waldron, Professor Susan and Flowers, Dr Hugh
Authors: Heal, K., Phin, A., Waldron, S., Flowers, H., Bruneau, P., Coupar, A., and Cundill, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:AMBIO
ISSN (Online):1654-7209
Published Online:28 May 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in AMBIO 49:442–459
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record