Purple wind turbines could save wildlife

Painting wind turbines purple could help to cut the number of birds and bats killed by flying into them, new research has claimed.

Birds and bats are attracted to the turbines as they feed on insects which collect around them as they would near trees in an unspoilt environment.

However, scientists from Loughborough University have discovered different coloured turbines are more or less likely to attract bugs.

Currently, the vast majority of wind turbines are painted either white or light grey and, the researchers discovered, only the colour yellow is more attractive to insects.

For the study a total of 2012 bug observations were made over a three year period, monitoring what colour squares insects preferred to land on.

The colour purple attracted fewer insects than any of the other colour tested, suggesting therefore, painting turbines that colour would stop flying animals from hitting them.

The research also suggested bugs were being killed after becoming caught up in vortexes around the blades, suggesting the colour change would also help their population numbers.

A spokeswoman for the university said: “In recent years, concern has been growing over the phenomenon of avian and bat mortality at wind turbine installations, an issue that could potentially be an obstacle to the growth of the wind industry sector.

“The finding that the common turbine colours white and light grey were amongst the most attractive colours to insects, independent of time of day, is of significant importance.

“Insects attracted to a turbine mast and rotor present a foraging opportunity to local insectivores, and thus this is likely to greatly increase the time spent in the vicinity of the turbine, which in turn increases the risk of fatal interaction with operational rotors.”

Luke Walsh

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