Location of developments

The most important step in the planning process is the decision on the location of wind energy or power line developments that will determine the level of threat to surrounding birds and habitats. Certain locations will be more sensitive such as bottlenecks or other particular landscape features. Planning requires data and interpretation of data and this may require that partnerships are formed between civil society, government and developers. Engagement through partnerships, roundtables or through other informal channel are most effective when trust is established and engagement takes place early in the development process.


Engaging early in the planning process


1. BESTGRID project handbook: demonstrates how you can increase your understanding of and combine grid development interests with nature protection, read more on how early engagement in the planning process can result in appropriate routing of power lines pp.16, 21, 24.

2. IFC Stakeholder Engagement: is a good practice handbook for companies doing business in emerging markets, see challenges and opportunities on early stage consultations on e p.115


Choosing appropriate location for development


1. Bern Convention Wind Farms and Birds Report: provides guidelines on what to consider in integrated planning and assessment procedures and how to apply tools such as sensitivity mapping p.34.

2. AEWA Guidelines on infrastructural developments and waterbirds: provides some information on location or 'alternatives' in an EIA and SEA p.26.

3. RAMSAR Guidance for addressing wetlands in the energy sector: provides guidelines on identifying Ramsar sites in SEA pp.4-5.

4. EUROBATS: provides guidelines on what to consider when selecting appropriate wind farm locations for bats pp.10-13

5. CMS Renewable energy technology guidelines: provides guidelines on how laws and conventions should be applied in EIA and SEA of wind energy developments and power lines. This is very important for ensuring that location or ‘alternatives’ incorporate these  pp.10-12; 49-53

6. RSPB and Natural England guide and map: provides a GIS map and written guidance for onshore and offshore wind farms. 

7. RSPB and Scottish National Heritage guide and map: provides guidance on the use of sensitivity map in Scotland.

8. Scottish National Heritage Guidance on Spatial Planning for Onshore Wind Turbines – natural heritage considerations, and other useful considerations for landscape policies. 

9. Working Group of German State Bird Conservancies: provides recommendations for distances of wind turbines to important areas for birds as well as breeding sites of selected bird species

10. SEO Guidelines for Assessing the Impact of Wind Farms on Birds and Bats: provides a list of planning factors to be taken into account p.20.


1. Soaring Bird Sensitivity Mapping Tool: This tool can be used to inform appropriate location for wind energy and power line developments based on the collision risk to migratory birds.

2. These are national examples of Sensitivity Maps: GermanyIreland; South Africa; Greece; Slovenia; Bulgaria; Netherlands.

3. The Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT): a decision support tool enabling rapid visual screening for critical biodiversity and for assessments of development project proximity to species and their habitats.


1. BirdLife International Extranet page: The Migratory Soaring Birds project provides a collection of further reading on Sensitivity Mapping (only available for BirdLife staff).


Engaging in an environmental assessment process 


1. BESTGRID: Public Participation and Transparency in Power Grid Planning; provides guidelines on how civil society can engage with governments and power line operators pp.10-12.

2. AEWA Guidelines on infrastructural developments and waterbirds: provides guidelines on how to develop a conceptual framework for engagement on transboundary issues in Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEA) pp.13-16

3. Grid Expansion in Germany: a short booklet that provides information on planning procedures and gives recommendations for how civil society can provide input in Germany.

4. MFI & CSBI Baseline guide: a guide for biodiveristy baselines that also provides information on how civil society can engage pp.43-46.

5. National Transmission Power Company Guidance on EIA and approppiate assessment:  includes a chapter about good practices on promoting public participation, p. 95 and Annex 10, (in Spanish)



1. German Government Consultation: and example of government resources for how civil society can engage with the German government on grid infrastructure. 

2. Grid Expansion in Germany: Public Participation: a brief conceptual framework for how civil society can engage with the German government on grid infrastructure. 

3. Guidelines for environmental assessment of projects likely to affect the Natura 2000 Networkyou can find good practices in promoting public participation in chapter 20, p.66, a section written by the Spanish National Power Transmission Company.